Category Archives:Crafting on the homestead

Delicious Graham Crackers Please!

Summer camping is in full swing, and the traditional s’more is always welcome fireside.

Setting up our tent in the front yard

Four boxes of graham crackers in one is a bonus of having our Sam’s Club membership. My son loves graham crackers (and so do I), but the day came when I had to tell my 2 year old that we were out of crackers! After the disbelief and tears of a cracker-less kitchen passed, I though “well gosh darn it, why not make them from scratch”. Entering stage left, Pinterest, with its wonderful pins of graham cracker recipes.

I chose two rather popular pins (see them on my pinterest board here). There are the basic ingredients that are the same for both recipes, however here’s the lists of differences:

Homemade Honey Graham Crackers

This recipe has: nutmeg, butter, vanilla extract, heavy cream, and baking soda.

 

https://www.craftsy.com/baking/article/how-to-make-homemade-graham-crackers/

This recipe has: egg, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and milk.

After completing both recipes a few times, I had my trusty taste testers choose our go to recipe.

Overall, we decided on the recipe from Completely Delicious.  We especially think the dough taste great baked or raw; and for those parents who don’t want their kids eating raw egg, this recipe is also a bonus.

Three  tips I have are:  (1) make sure you roll out thin, thinner than you think you should,                                     (2) check them in the oven at the shortest bake time to make sure they don’t over bake. The edges can get rather crispy quickly.

(3) Even with my Kitchenaid mixing bowl, a double batch was a bit too much at one time

With one batch of graham cracker dough and rolling fairly thin, I was able to get 55 crackers (minus a few that were eaten raw by the family).

Leave a comment below if you have a different graham cracker recipe you like!

New additions for the beginning of 2018!

The new year has already brought two new additions to the Children and Chickens homestead.

First, we welcomed a new son to our family in January!

And second, we brought the loom home in February!

So with some practice I will have some new items for Marie’s Craft Corner, and some new blog posts about my weaving mishaps and achievements.

 

Homemade Pizza- Dos and Don’ts

One night after eating another frozen pizza, my husband informed me, “I don’t think we should eat frozen pizza.”

I took that to mean, “I don’t ever want to eat frozen pizza again.” So the next time we were going to eat pizza, I decided I would make it myself.

What he really meant, “We have been eating pizza too much lately.”

Since that miscommunication, I have been making pizza from scratch (except the cheese), and have learned a few dos and don’ts of pizza making that make homemade pizza pretty darn good.

The Equipment: DO consider buying a pizza stone and pizza peel

We have used both the special nonstick, “holey”, metal pizza pans and a pizza stone. The crust crisps up so much better on a stone than in a pan. Plus a pizza stone can be used for crisping the crust of artisan bread that can be made from scratch at home.

DO use plastic wrap instead of a towel to cover dough while rising

The dough recipe I use contains yeast so there is a rise time (my recipe says 30 minutes). Usually with all the other prep I do, my dough sits longer. In that time, I have had the top of the dough start to dry out. With plastic wrap instead of a towel, the moisture stays in the bowl, and then I don’t have dry bits in my crust while rolling out.

The Dough: DO use flour to roll out dough before placing on the peel

I prefer to roll out my dough than to toss it. However, if I rolled my dough on the peel with cornmeal, the meal would just get pushed into the dough causing the dough to stick once all the toppings were on. Now I roll my dough out with a bit of flour before covering my peel with corn meal.  This method also helped to reduce the amount of corn meal I had to use to get the pizza off the peel.

The Cheese: DON’T use pre-shredded cheese

I can’t stress this point enough. Just last week I made a pizza just as I normally do, but all I had was packaged shredded mozzarella cheese that I had been using for other recipes. When we sat down to eat the pizza, I was wondering why the pizza tasted off. Turns out it was definitely the cheese, because the next week when I bought a 5 lb block of mozzarella and shredded it, my pizza tasted amazing again!

Fresh shredded cheese is the key.

The Sauce: Up to you

We make our own pizza sauce, usually from our garden tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, but when I first started making pizza at home I used canned pizza sauce.

A few things we have noted:

  • cooking the sauce before putting it on the pizza helped meld the flavor of the spices
  • adding some sugar sweetened it just enough
  • the canned diced tomatoes are usually too large so you may have to put the chunks in a processor or cut them before putting together your sauce

Weaving 101- Beginning a new chapter of craft

With some new babies on the way, one being my own, I’ve been feeling quite crafty! About 2 years ago my Super-Crafty grandma traded two bags that she created for a 4 heddle loom. After she had the loom for a few weeks, she informed me that I would be receiving this machine!

She hasn’t been able to work on her loom in over a year, so my time has come.  One weekend I spent about 15 hours, trying out the next addition to my fiber crafting. The best part was the loom was already prepped (warped) for weaving.

When using a loom, warping takes the most time and preparation in the process. Having a table top tape loom that I use for reenacting the Revolutionary War, has giving me a little experience warping.

You have to keep all the strands of thread under tension which can be tricky when putting thread through all the components of the loom.

So for this trip to grandma’s house, I was practicing different weaving patterns in towels to see what I liked. I also tried out two different fiber combinations, one in linen and one in cotton. The linen didn’t create as tight a weave (even when doubling the thread), however, this can be beneficial for absorbing more liquid. I finished two towels in linen, and started a third towel in cotton. The cotton pattern was looking great. I also doubled up the turquoise to thicken the pattern a little.

I look forward to getting the loom moved to my house! And I semi-look forward to warping my first project on that loom.