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Rhubarb is an interesting plant. A perennial in the family Polygonaceae (buckwheat family) that dies back to the ground in winter, it can often be found growing on old homestead sites, when the homestead itself is long gone. Grown for its tart stems, which can vary from all green to a deep red, its large leaves contain high amounts of oxalic acid (also found in much lower quantities in spinach) and anthrone glycosides, which can be toxic. Though you’d have to eat many pounds of the leaves in one sitting to actually poison yourself. My sheep love the leaves and have done damage to more than one fence to reach my plants.

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Sourdough crackers, salami from our trip to Seattle in early march, a bit of leftover quince jam from last fall, and homemade farmer cheese.

I’ve written several blog posts (here and here) about my adventures in sourdough. But then, as I’ve aged, I’ve found that I have a lot less aches and pains when I don’t eat gluten. So I’ve become one of THOSE people, who mostly doesn’t eat wheat. And because of that, I’ve mostly stopped baking (though I do really like this paleo pizza crust and I occasionally make this gluten free bread).

And then coronavirus hit. And in a nostalgic mix of “baking = comfort” and “OMG stores are sold out of flour and yeast” panic, I bought a 50 lb bag of Smalls Family Farm unbleached all purpose flour from Andy’s. I figured I could always bake for the neighbors. This also necessitated me scrubbing out and bleaching several 6 gallon plastic buckets that originally contained coconut oil for soapmaking, but had been repurposed to hold grain for sheep or other random farm uses.

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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate 1

Ready for the freezer.

Well, I’m on the annual “try to take off some of the holiday weight gain in the month of January” ritual. For me, this is as much about getting off of the sugar indulgence band wagon and regaining some control over my snack cravings than anything else. Though seeing the scale move to a number higher than I’ve ever seen before was certainly additional motivation. I’ve been doing pilates at home and swimming three days a week. I started out doing a three day smoothie detox, mostly to clean out my system (the smoothies are basically a giant fiber bomb). We’ve been eating lighter, eating WAY more vegetables, and mostly eating much smaller serving sizes. Read the rest of this entry »

DSC07811watermarkI’ve done several blog posts on sourdough. This one is about how I got my starter to “start”, back in August 2010. This one is a follow up with a ton of recipes, written two years later. I’ve gotten a bit out of the habit of baking regularly (too busy, and trying to lose a few pounds by cutting out bread products, among other things), and my starter had been languishing in the back of the refrigerator for many months. I decided I needed to get it out and work with it again, before it perished. Read the rest of this entry »

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The speckled eggs are turkey eggs. Yum.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, but we made this last night, so I thought I would share.

Now you all know that I’m pretty much a “from scratch” girl. If I can make it myself, I generally do, from mustard to yogurt to soap. But sometimes a simple recipe comes along using a processed ingredient, and it rocks so much that you just refuse to hang your head in shame and instead fight your husband for the last piece. This, my friends, is one of those recipes. If you buy the crust premade and used canned whipped cream, this is a five, count ’em, five ingredient recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

ChocolateCakeDone

OK, not the best picture in the world. We were more interested in eating it than photographing it.

Confession. You know the whole cupcake trend? I am SO over it. Not because I don’t like cake. I love cake. But because I don’t love buckets of icing, and I like my cakes to be relatively light (both in terms of sugar, fat and texture). I’ve never had a cupcake shop cupcake where the icing did not outweigh the cake, and the cake, in order to hold all of that icing, was as dense as pound cake. They always put me into a sugar coma and leave me regretting the purchase (I know, I’m weird that way). I had a coworker who was an icing lover. Whenever we had cake in the office, I would scrape off about 3/4 of my icing and drop it onto her plate, much to her delight. Read the rest of this entry »

HotDogBunsSo back in August 2010, I wrote about my adventures in sourdough. Well, it’s now been two years (can you believe it!) and my starter is still going strong. I thought I’d give an update, and include a bunch of recipes. Read the rest of this entry »

Ready to go into the oven

I’ve tried a lot of granola recipes over the years, and rejected my fair share as well. Granola is supposed to be healthy and good for you. So recipes that call for tons of sugar and fat just don’t cut it, in my book. I once saw a recipe that called for a cup of oil. A CUP. Well of course it tasted good. It was practically deep-fried! I’ve also tried recipes made with just fruit juice to cut down on the sweetness, and those were not sweet enough. It’s hard to find just the right balance. Read the rest of this entry »

My mother’s 1972 printing of the Joy of Cooking, opened to the page on Yeast Breads. This book literally taught me the basics of cooking. It’s a long story as to why I wasn’t taught by the parental units in my life, but thankfully, I’ve always been able to learn by reading! Not quite sure where the grease stain came from.

I’ve been baking bread since my early 20’s. One of my first attempts was a bagel recipe found on the back of the yeast packet. (I had no idea what I was getting into, but reading the bread section of The Joy of Cooking helped. My work mates scarfed them up like they had not been fed for days, but none of us were particularly picky at that age.) Being a small woman without a lot of upper body strength or height, hand kneading dough was (and still is) difficult for me, and so I only made bread occasionally until the bread machine craze of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Read the rest of this entry »

A tree full of these beauties makes me feel rich!

I am living in apple paradise. How many times have I moved with boxes collected from the local grocery store, only to see “Washington Apples” on the side? Greenbluff, less than 20 minutes from my house, has a great selection of apples. We drove through one of the major Washington apple growing regions, Yakima, a few weeks ago, and saw wooden boxes of apples the size of a small cabin.   Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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