Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Gluten-Free Bread Recipe

Buying gluten-free bread at the supermarket is ridiculously expensive. And some of it tastes like Styrofoam. I have been experimenting with baking my own. I really like the way I've been making it lately. It is a rather short loaf but the flavor and texture are good. I like to watch my carb intake so, to me, smaller slices aren't a bad thing.

Roxi's Gluten-Free Bread

Preheat oven to 100 degrees (or warm).

In a small bowl, soak 1/2 C. of rolled oats in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

3/4c. warm water in a measuring cup. Add to this:
2 Tbs. Organic sugar
1 Tbs. yeast

Combine these dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl:
1/2 C. white rice flour
1/2 C. brown rice flour
1/2 C. tapioca starch
1/2 C. corn starch
1/4 C. powdered milk
2 1/2 tsp. Xanthum gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Beat all these together in a small mixing bowl:
1 egg
2 egg whites
2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 C. honey

By now your yeast should be trying to crawl out of the measuring cup. Add it, the oats and the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a mixer. Once combined stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Now mix on a medium setting for 4 minutes.

Spoon into a buttered bread pan. Smooth the top as best you can. Place it into the preheated warm oven and let it rise until it is just past the top of the pan. If you let it rise too much it may fall after baking.

Once it is risen, turn the heat up to 300 degrees and bake until it is brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Let it cool completely before slicing. Store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It's especially good toasted.


I'm Still Here! Meet the Willoughby Petting Zoo.

If anyone has been checking my blog they probably wonder if I dropped off the face of the Earth? No. I've just been incredibly busy. Every now and then I'd remind myself that I need to post something but in the evening, when I had some down time, I'd be too tired to make the effort.

What have I been doing? Getting settled in to my new home, trying to whip this acre into shape, and acquiring some farm critters. I moved here with a dog, a cat, a pond goldfish, one hen and one hive. I now have all of that plus....29 more chickens, 2 lambs, 3 goats (and a deposit on a 4th) and 3 more hives. I've been busy.

First I bought a rooster and 4 hens off of Craigslist. I couldn't wait to have a rooster crowing and I wanted my hen, Shirley to have some company. One of those hens turned out to be a rooster and I sold him for $10. He was an Ameraucana.

Shirley greeting the new arrivals.
She wasn't happy and screamed at them for 2 days.
They all get along great now.

5 chickens wasn't going to be enough so I bought 10 chicks. 5 Rhode Island Reds and 5 Black Sexlinks.

 Then I decided to buy 5 Ameraucana chicks so my husband could have the green eggs he likes. This was the day they graduated to the grow out pen.

Next I needed a dairy goat. I found a yearling doe I liked and put a deposit on her but couldn't bring her home until we built a goat shed and found her a friend. This is the shed under construction.

And completed.
We welcomed our goats, Cocoa, the doe and Stewie, the wether. Stewie was a gift from a friend. We knew, right before we brought her home, that Cocoa was expecting. We just didn't know when she was due. However we figured it would be sooner rather than later. My husband built me a milking stand so I could be ready.
The milking stand needed to be out of the weather so my husband added another room to the back of the goat shed.
And it was a good thing we got it done because on June 6th this happened.

I arrived on the scene just in time to see a little face coming out, resting on 2 front feet. The perfect presentation. Cocoa is a first freshener, meaning this was her first birth. She only had the one little boy this time and she has been a wonderful, attentive, protective mother. She loves her little kid and he loves his mom.

He will always have a special place in my heart, being the first animal born on our homestead. His also the first birth I have ever witnessed. I tell him I'm his grandma. I'm the one who cleaned him off and made sure he got something to drink right away. I enjoyed my role as midwife.
Meanwhile I decided I needed to add some multi-purpose chickens to my flock so bought 10 Barred Rock chicks.

But that's not all. The orchard isn't going to mow itself and the ground is too uneven for me to use a lawnmower. I can't put goats in there. They'd eat the trees. Time to get a couple of sheep. Then I can have fleece to spin, too. Luckily there is a couple who raise Romneys just 4 minutes up the road. Meet my 2 lambs, Ebony and Ivory. Ebony is a ewe and Ivory is a wether. He is twice her size even though they were both born in April, 6 days apart.



Of all my animals, I enjoy the goats the most. They are so curious and friendly. I currently have Nubians, although Heath's dad was half Boer so Heath is 75% Nubian. I like the Nubians. Don't get me wrong. However they are LOUD. Especially Stewie. He's my alarm goat. It was his cries that alerted me that Cocoa was giving birth. Poor Stewie was freaking out. LOL
Nubians are also stubborn. I don't see it in Stewie and Heath so much. But my doe is as stubborn as the day is long. And she kicks. I have to hobble her to milk her. I also only have 1/3 of an acre to devote to goat pasture. I read about Mini Nubians and that is what I want to raise. You breed a Nubian doe to a Nigerian Dwarf buck. You get all the wonderful qualities of the friendly Nubians together with the sweeter dispositions and quieter voices of the Nigerian Dwarves. And smaller sheep need less to eat. I want to have a closed flock, anyway, to keep my goats disease free. This means having my own buck on site. A smaller buck is easier to handle. I located a cute Nigerian Dwarf buckling just south of me in Longview, WA. I currently have a deposit on him. He'll be weaned the end of August and I'll bring him home at that time. I am hoping he'll be mature enough to breed Cocoa to this fall.

Well, I think that's enough for this post. I have lots more to share but that will have to be for another day.

Friday, March 21, 2014

How Did My Animals Handle Moving?

My animals made the transition surprisingly well. Reggie, my Yorkie, wanted to mark the new place the first time he visited. I guess I couldn't blame him too much. The house did smell like a doggie bathroom when we first moved in. It only took me fussing at him 3 times before it sunk in that it wasn't OK to mark indoors. Since then he has been good as gold.

I was most concerned about my cat, Singha. He is an indoor/outdoor cat who is extremely nocturnal and wants to wake you up at 3am to let him out. If you don't comply there will be consequences. A friend suggested I keep him inside the new place "for a few weeks". That would never happen. I once kept him indoors for 14 days while he healed from surgery. Neither of us had a good time. I got very little sleep. He was constantly looking for a way outside and I have the claw marks on my wall to prove it. I decided to leave him at the old house on the day we moved because of all the chaos and open doors. I returned to Tacoma the following day to gather him up and bring him to his new home. I placed him in a travel crate for the drive. Once at the new house I put his crate and his enclosed litter box into the back bathroom, where I could close the door. I opened the door to the crate. He slowly slunk out of the crate and into the litter box, where he remained for the rest of the day and night. I went into the room frequently and talked to him. The next day when I checked he had moved from the litter box and had wedged himself behind the laundry bin. He stayed there for the rest of that day. The next morning he was still behind the bin but it was apparent he had ventured out long enough to eat half of his cat food. We were making progress. I continued to check on him frequently. That afternoon it was just he, I and the dog in the house. I decided to open the bathroom door and see if he would emerge. Pretty soon I see his head peeking around the corner. Little by little he would venture out, then retreat back into the bathroom. Then he would come out a bit further. Pretty soon he was snooping all around the house. That night he started mewling to go outside but I wasn't ready for that. He was being very vocal so I closed him back into the bathroom so I could get some sleep. The next day he was feeling very comfortable around the house. a few times during the day I would let him outside but I stood where he could see me and called him back after a short time. We repeated this a few times throughout the day. I wanted him to know where his home was. Later that night, when he asked to go out, I let him. In the morning I called him back and he came running. He has been fine ever since. The bonus for him? His dad now lets him sleep in the bed.

That leaves Shirley, My last remaining hen from my small Tacoma flock. Shirley is 4 years old. She was still laying eggs but 2 months before my move she stopped laying and her health was obviously declining. I was hoping she would live long enough to make it to Winlock and experience what it is like to free range. I don't have a proper coop here on the property but there is what I think was a goat shed. It consists of 2 rooms and has straw bale sides. The top is canvas. I hoped Shirley would hang out in there. The first night I went to check on her and found her outside the shed, wedged up in a bit of fencing. I rescued her and set her inside the shed. She remained inside the shed for 2 days, even though the door was open and she could leave at any time. On the third day I saw her out eating some bugs near the shed.

 I went to check on her later and couldn't find her anywhere. She wasn't in the shed, or anywhere in the orchard. I though something must've got her. I was heading back to the house when I saw something moving in the pasture next to the orchard. There was Shirley, happily gobbling bugs. I checked at dusk and she was back inside the shed, roosting up on top of the partition between the rooms. That is where she sleeps every night. Her days are spent free ranging our property. Yesterday she made a nest and laid her fist egg in a very long time. Today she laid another. I think she loves her new home.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Finally Residing In Winlock.

It's been a month since my last post....and what a month its been! We finally closed on our Winlock property on March 8th and moved the majority of our belongings here on the 9th. We were originally supposed to close on the 28th and have a week to clean the new house and make any needed repairs before moving on the 9th. But fate intervened and we had some last minute hoops to jump through which delayed our closing. That is par for the course. Nothing about purchasing this property has been easy. Was it worth it? Hell yeah!

We headed down to Winlock the day we closed. My intention was to scrub it before we moved. The previous owners were not clean people, to put it mildly. In fact the interior of the home looked (and smelled) like it had been used as a kennel. Dog hair everywhere. A layer of filth on every surface, and badly stained (and smelly) carpets were still installed in 2 of the rooms. This worked to our advantage. I'm sure this is the main reason the house remained unsold for so many months. Well that, and the really poor  photographs provided by the listing agent. We wound up getting this lovely 1930's schoolhouse, with a full basement, on an acre, for the bargain price of $87,000. Definitely worth all the hassle. But I digress. We headed down after closing, ready to commence with the scrubbing, only to discover that a pipe in the well house had burst during the last hard freeze. It took all day for my husband and our poor, long suffering  realtor to get the pipe fixed and the water running.

Moving day arrived and we rounded up some young muscle, thanks to our son-in-law's friends. They quickly loaded up the furniture and boxes and off we headed for our new digs. By the time we got everything unloaded it was getting late and I was tired. We discovered that we had left our bedding behind in Tacoma. My husband went back for it while I zonked out in a recliner. That was my introduction to my new house. Left along in a stinky house, at night, exhausted with nowhere to lie down. I was feeling a bit blue....until I heard the trains. 3 or 4 of them passed by while I was waiting for my husband to return. And every time one passed, I smiled. The tracks are just far enough away to still be heard from inside the house. It is lovely.

Sunday morning we discovered that the hot water tank wasn't working. My husband made the first (of many) trips into town to the True Value Hardware Store. Winlock's hardware store is legendary. It is located on both sides of the street and if they don't have it...they'll get it. And quick. Once the new heating element was installed in the water heater it works just fine. Finally I could begin cleaning.

I began with the kitchen. This what it looked like when I began.

The floor hadn't been mopped in 9 years. I had to use a scrub brush and lots of Mr. Clean.

And here are some pictures of the kitchen after I moved the fridge over next to the stove and added some of my own storage cabinets (which just happen to match the existing cabinets).

 The kitchen is a work in progress. It is still morphing. Here I've added curtains and my wine bottle collection to the windows.

Preparing to make myself some fried rice in my new kitchen.

Next I needed to clean the nasty range, inside and out. And replace the largest burner. I also installed new drip pans. I couldn't get all the burnt on crud from around that largest burner but I am no longer afraid to cook in and on this range. Eventually it will be replaced by a propane range and this one will move to my canning kitchen, outside.

That's enough of an update for now. I still have more to share about how my animals made the transition but that will be for the next post. I am loving every day here. I am a very fortunate woman to have been able to make my dream of moving to the country a reality.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Gluten-Free)

This turned out moist and delicious.
Trust me, you won't miss the bread crumbs.

GF Parmesan Crusted Chicken
1.5 lbs. Chicken, cut up
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt, pepper & garlic powder, to taste
4 Tbs. of crushed Rice Chex
Preheat over to 425 degrees F. Place chicken in a baking dish. Mine was Pyrex. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, cheese and Italian seasoning. Spoon on top of chicken pieces and spread it on as best you can. Sprinkle with remaining seasonings. Top with crumbs. Bale uncovered for 25 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until cooked through. Mine to a total of 35 minutes. No one will guess that these are gluten-free.

Friday, February 14, 2014

All's Well With The Well!

We got word last Friday that Fannie Mae had (FINALLY) given the OK for the well pump to be repaired. That repair took place Monday. The sample was sent to the lab for testing and was declared "clear" this past Wednesday. We are still on track for a closing date of February 28th. I think I am going to worry, right up until we sign the closing documents and I have the keys in hand. Now to pack, pack, pack. We are planning our actual move for the second week in March. The first week in March will be spent scrubbing the place, top to bottom. It looks like I will just barely meet my goal of being in the new place by spring.

Which will be good news for my bees. The weather is starting to warm and they have begun to emerge from the hives. As soon as I see them out flying, I'm feeding. Yesterday I placed feeders in my yard for the first time this year.

The hive to the far right may be a dead out. Or it just may not be getting warm enough for the bees to come out and fly. Time will tell. It looks like the other 2 hives came through the winter just fine.
There isn't much time for handwork right now, however I did get inspired to begin knitting again after a 3 year hiatus. I saw a hat on Ravely with a ring of peace signs and decided to try to replicate it. Mission accomplished. This is my new favorite hat.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

And We're...........Still Waiting.........

I'm sure those of you who have purchased a bank owned property can sympathize. Fannie Mae moves at her own pace. In fact I question whether she moves at all. Maybe it is like watching a sloth? You have to stare at it all day to see any progress. It's now been a full week since my last post and we still have not heard as to when the well pump will be repaired. We are assured that there is no reason it won't be. But no one can say when. We are also assured that ours isn't the only property caught in the Fannie Mae bottle neck, awaiting repairs. Meanwhile, the husbeast and I have been busy planning our attack for when we finally get possession.

The house needs just about everything you can imagine short of construction. First on the agenda will be a thorough scrubbing, top to bottom. Next we will need to fix one of the loose toilets. The remaining filthy carpets will be pulled up. The bedroom will be the first room to be overhauled. I refuse to sleep in it as is. That room will be painted and carpeted immediately. As it stands, we only plan to carpet 2 rooms. The bedroom and my loom room. The carpets will match the wall paint. Speaking of paint, here is the palette we have chosen.

The top 3 swatches are the exterior colors. The yellow on the right will also be the paint for the kitchen and mud room. The olive greens are for the living room, vestibule and hall. The tans are the bedroom, sewing room and both baths. The teal is my loom room.
We have also been planning what furniture and appliances we'll need. Thursday morning we were having breakfast in one of our favorite restaurants, Shakabrah Java , and the subject of burl coffee tables came up. We used to have a large burl table in our living room, years ago, but we sold it when our youngest nearly put her eye out on it. We loved that table a discussed how we'd like to get another for the new house. I immediately hopped on Craigslist and found this beauty in Lynnwood, WA, for $150. My husband grabbed it on his way to work. The timing was perfect. It had been on Craigslist for less than 24 hours. What are the odds? I think it was meant to be ours.

Now we just need a leather sofa and chair, and we'll be set.
So, still we wait. We are both getting impatient. We're trying to keep ourselves occupied. I recently sewed myself this dress. That kept me busy for 4 days.

Now I have a quilt kit that I can start. And there's always packing and de cluttering to do. Moving day will arrive, eventually. My hubby bought me this book today, to help me plan and dream.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Photos Of Winlock Property: Full Basement

This property doesn't have any outbuildings so the fact that it has a clean, dry, FULL basement was very attractive. Both my husband and I have hobbies that require a lot of space. The basement has 2 access doors. One is in the mud room and the other is on the side of the building.

The door from the mud room to the basement.

The access to  the attic is right above the landing.

Looking down the stairs. You have to
watch your head at the bottom. Low clearance.
Ah, there's the dryer hose. No matter, I'm putting
laundry area down here, out of the way.

Looking back towards the stairs. Now we'll pan right.

From the outside this would be the front right corner
of the building. Some storage cabinets. Nice.

More workbenches along the wall and a big table.

One of the previous occupants was a saddle maker.
That's what that doo-hickey is for. Been there a long time.
It looks like someone starting finishing that far corner.

This is the door that leads to the side of the house
with the orchard and pasture. We want to put a
covered patio just outside the door. There is hot
and cold running water to the left of the door. I
will eventually put my canning kitchen out on
the patio. I'll also barbecue, make soap, etc. outside.

The back wall of the basement. There's an old woodstove
there. The real estate listing claimed the house had a
fireplace. Yeah, if you count an old, rusty, disconnected
woodstove. The ad also included the basement square
footage in the "finished" square footage of the home.