|The King's Roost||
Of all the nerdy DIY gadgets we have at home, our oat roller might just be the family favorite. It's so user-friendly and fast, and the kids are big fans of oatmeal, granola bars, cookies, various baked goods, and muesli-- all of which taste so much better with fresh-rolled oats. Oat groats (or oat berries) are the whole-grain kernels which can be stored for up to twenty years and still stay alive and "fresh." But the minute you split, cut, or roll oats, they begin to oxidize and go rancid. All the germ and good oil that's been sealed inside the husk becomes quite unstable when exposed to air. That's why rolled oats from the store shelf taste different than oats that have just been rolled or cut. That said, muesli can still be delicious with store-bought rolled oats. And no matter how you come by your oats, homemade muesli is a much better value, far more customizable and nutritious than most store-bought breakfast cereal. The flavor combinations are endless; there's a muesli for everyone. It's a well-kept secret we're letting out of the bag because it's simply too fast, easy, and scrumptious not to try.
We're building a new backyard chicken run and coop! You can see the old A-frame in green, and the new, bigger, better redwood version in progress. We're excited about the walk-in design, which will make it much easier to clean and gives the chickens a lot more vertical space. You can see our old lady, Padma, in the right foreground, carefully overseeing the work. She has a big crush on our handyman and follows him around all day.
The only thing that rivals baby chicks in terms of a good time, is shopping for items to sell in the King's Roost retail store. It's a fantasy. You're in for a treat when you visit the shop and see all the amazing things you can make and do. Today's favorite finds:
A tiny butter churn for turning your milk into fresh homemade butter. Imagine the possibilities for flavored butters! Savory garlic, chive, tarragon, sage or rosemary butter.... Or sweet honey butter... maple butter... fig or cinnamon or strawberry butter. THE MOUTH WATERS JUST THINKING OF IT.
Also on today's list of extra-special items, a countertop compost bin to fall in love with. Small, compact, very cute and stylish, with a carbon filter to trap odors. In the past, we've had trouble finding a kitchen compost bucket that works well and isn't butt ugly. The search is over-- we found it!
Can't wait to show you these and other treats.
Our family has twelve new baby chicks! Meet Tahini and Twitter, our tiny Buff Orpingtons. We also got Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Easter Eggers, Black Australorps, and Gold Stars. WE ARE SO EXCITED. Cheep!
I'm fully aware that to many people, milling your own grains sounds pretty crazy and over the top. I certainly thought so when my friends Karyn and Jason first tried to convince me of the benefits. I honestly figured they were becoming new-age hippie fringe lunatics with too much time on their hands.
But humor me for one minute. When you stop and think about it, how is milling grains any weirder than grinding your own coffee beans? Lots of us do that. And this is pretty much the same thing-- but even MORE crucial for flavor and freshness. It only takes a few seconds to make your own wholesome flour, and you get countless nutritional benefits, terrific taste, and NONE of the bitter flavor we often associate with whole wheat.
Today, I made the kids' favorite: Dutch-style breakfast crepes, using my Mom's recipe. I modified it for whole grains, and it tastes great. Less than 30 minutes from wheat berries to the breakfast table. Makes me so happy to see my kids enjoying good, simple food. So basic, only a few key ingredients. Give it a shot!
And of course, a giant thank-you to Jason and Karyn, for turning me on to cooking with whole grains in the first place.
People don't always like cabbage... or know what to do with it. In under seven minutes, I'll show you how to make your own sauerkraut from scratch. So simple and easy. Delicious flavor, and YOU control how intense you want it to taste. The only ingredients are cabbage and salt-- the magic of fermentation does the rest. It's incredibly tasty and healthy... terrific on sandwiches, salads, wraps, and roast meats. Check it out!
Poor little Triscuit continues to battle a sour crop. We saw a bit of improvement yesterday as we kept her cool inside our house, hydrated her with plain Pedialyte, and syringe-fed yogurt to battle the yeast, plus providing some protein and nourishment. This morning, her crop was better than it's been the last several mornings, but still bloated and squishy. So I induced her to regurgitate in order to get the toxic stuff out and relieve the pressure.
This is Triscuit, one of our hens, a little Easter Egger named after the cracker because that's what she looked like at one day old. Poor lady is struggling with sour crop, a condition caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the hen's crop, or upper digestive tract. Here, I talk about diagnosing a chicken with this disease and how to care for her.