Fall Cooking Adventures

Every evening I steam a bunch of squash for part of our chickens food called mash, which I make the next morning. I mash-up the steamed squash and add dinner leftovers plus grain. I set the grain in water for two hours, rinse and let sit overnight. This starts the process of sprouting and is easier for our chickens to digest. The chickens also free-range for their greens and protein, grass and bugs are their favorite food. I’ve never had a healthier bunch of chickens. Much of the food my chickens eat is free from our garden and lawn. I buy bulk grain from our local organic farmers and share it with my chickens, buying bulk saves a lot of money. When it starts snowing I will also share our garden greens. Chickens need greens as much as humans do. We also use squash and pumpkin pulp for stews, soups, noodles, bread, cookies, and biscuits.

I read that squash and pumpkins are a super food because of the orange color, fiber, micro nutrients and minerals. I think this is why our chickens are so healthy for the last 3 years. My first year, out of the 4 years I have raised chickens, I lost many chickens to the flu. I did some research and found their food sources have become polluted just like humans with herbicides and pesticides that kill gut bacteria. Gut bacteria, yeast, fungus help break down the food we eat, this is the same for any animal including my chickens. Their immune system is in their gut just like humans. I haven’t lost a chicken to illness since I started feeding them organic and from my garden.

Once a week my Husband and I take turns grinding grain for bread, biscuits, and cookies. He will grind grain without complaining for cookies. I think it’s an excellent trade! I am still figuring out the proper ratio of yeast and other ingredients that will make a great yeasty bread. I found adding fruit pulp, vinegar, yogurt really help the yeast thrive and helps the flour soften and stretch when kneading. Making bread from fresh hand milled flour is different from store-bought flour. I think the difference has to do with the extreme processing factory flour goes through. All the nutrients are stripped out through chemical processing and the grain is ground very finely, so fine that the flour will turn into cement like goo in our digestive system if we can’t digest it. Also fresh ground grain will go rancid within a few hours if left at room temperature. If I have any wheat flour left over I pop it in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer. I also make flour from buckwheat. It is much easier to grind and sift, plus the flour does not go rancid like wheat. Although the buckwheat flour will mold if it has any moisture. I usually place buckwheat flour in a jar or bag and store it in the fridge if I don’t use it right away. It also makes a great thickener for sauces, stews, and soups.

Still working on perfecting a pizza. My husband loved this one made with sausage, peppers, tomato paste, garlic, onions, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. I strained out all the liquid from some steamed canned tomatoes and made a lovely tomato paste. Our Garden tomatoes came in a variety of colors. The paste and sauces aren’t bright red like store-bought tomato products. After I add all the spices the end product taste better than the factory processed item.

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