Monday, November 28, 2011

Applesauce Sourdough Bread Revisited

Last year I posted my Applesauce Sourdough Bread.

I decided to revisit this recipe to talk about the add-ins.  My bread is never the same twice because the add-ins change depending on what I have available.  I always double the recipe and get 6 loaves so the amounts below are for that amount.

I usually beef up the whole wheat flour with several of the following:  wheat germ, bran,  oatmeal, oat bran. I usually add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of several or all.

I also add flax.  I add whole seeds for fiber and I grind some in the coffee grinder to help lower cholesterol.  I read that whole flax seeds don't help with cholesterol so I add both.  I usually add around 1/2 cup total - whole and ground flax.

I have also bought some whole grains from time to time - wheat, etc. and run them through the coffee grinder to break them up a bit.  Last time I baked, I added 3/4 cup of whole wheat grain and ground it slightly to break up the kernels of wheat.

I also like to add seeds.  My favorite is sunflower seeds but have added pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, and/or sesame seeds as well.  I often add about 1 cup of sunflower seeds and 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sesame and/or poppy seeds.

When I am making the bread I mix all my add-ins in a bowl and add part of it into the mixer while adding the flour.  I then add the whole wheat flour and finish with the white flour.  When I make six loaves, I usually mix a quarter of the dough at once.  So to do this  start with 2 to 2 1/2 cups of liquid.  I then add about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of add-ins, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and about 1 to 2 cups of white flour.

I have also thought about adding raisins, cranberries or other dried fruit but haven't as of yet.  I think I would only make a single recipe (3 loaves) if I added fruit.  I have also toyed with the idea of adding pumpkin instead of applesauce.  Maybe someday.  ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Dust Bath at Grandma's

Lulu and I went to visit my mom and dad.  They live in a second floor apartment.  The weather was still quite nice and they hadn't had enough frost to kill my mom's geraniums.   

Lulu liked to be out on the balcony because it was sunny and warm there.

One of the planters was lower than the others and Lulu was able to dig in the dirt.

She would dig the dirt out of the planter and spread it on the ground.

Then she would repeat the process until she had a nice layer on the ground.

Since the plants were going to freeze anyway, my mom didn't mind Lulu making a mess.  In fact, she watered all the plants except the one Lulu played in so it wouldn't be muddy.

We would all sit on the balcony and watch Lulu enjoying herself.

When she got the dirt spread to her liking, she started to dust bath in it.

It takes alot of dedication to dustbath in so little dirt but Lulu managed.

She shook and rolled in that bit of dirt and laid there in the sun.

What a lucky girl!  Not many chickens get to have a dustbath on a balcony overlooking a park.

Monday, November 21, 2011

In the Blink of An Eye

For several days this past week, I was outside raking leaves.  The weather was nice and the grass was still green. I was piling the leaves on my herb beds since I had some winter kill last year.  I figured that we don't usually get enough snow to cover the plants, so I would cover them with leaves.  Come spring, we'll see if it helped.

I still had more leaves to rake as all the trees hadn't even finished turning colours.  When I got up the next morning what do I see - SNOW! 

Snow on the lattice and in the clouds over the mountains.

Snow on the herb garden that I just finished covering with leaves.

On the grapes and trellis.

The trees aren't finished dropping their leaves.

In fact, this apple tree hasn't even finished changing colours!

The cherry tree is still loaded with leaves.

Another grape trellis with the snowy mountains in the distance.

Mountain ash berries wearing tall white hats.

My poor Coco, all covered with snow.

I used to have a dog named Coco that looked exactly like the statue.

We received about 2-3" in our first dump of snow.  Hopefully, it'll disappear before long but if not - get ready for WINTER!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reviving Sourdough

I seldom use my sourdough during the summer.  I'm too busy with the yard and garden - preserving and canning the results. 

You are supposed to feed the dough every ten days but I find that you can extend that.  If I don't feed the dough for two or three weeks, I leave it out of the fridge for a day or so after feeding it.  I find the dough is still bubbly.  If you leave it too long between feedings, I find it gets too sour for my liking.  In those cases, I feed it, leave it out for a couple of  days and then feed it again.

For the summer, I usually freeze the sourdough.  According to my Robin Hood pamphlet on care of sourdough, it suggests not freezing it for more than three months.  Well, summer here is longer than that so I froze mine for around five months.

To revive the dough you thaw it slowly in the fridge.  Leave it there for at least 24 hours.  Feed the dough and leave it out for a day or so.  It should then be ready to use.  I plan to leave it out for awhile and then feed it a second time before using it.

First thing on my list to make is my Applesauce Sourdough Bread.  Yum!

I will be adding more sourdough recipes as the year progresses.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Horseshoe Canyon

Just before our stop in Drumheller, Lulu and I stopped at Horseshoe Canyon.  I've been there before but always enjoy returning for the view.

When you drive up to the turn off to the canyon, all you see is flat land.

In the parking lot, you can read about the formation of the canyon.

Walk a few steps and there it is right in front of you.

It was given its name because it is in the shape of a horseshoe.

I always enjoy my stop here no matter how brief.

To me, it has the rugged feel of the old west.

It makes you wish you could see a herd of wild horses galloping through the canyon.

Back on the highway flat yet deceptive because who knows what lies just over the horizon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lulu Visits the Dinosaurs

On our road trip, Lulu and I took a slight detour so she could visit some of her very distant relatives - the dinosaurs.  We stopped at Drumheller and Lulu met several interesting characters.

The first gentleman was quite the formal guy with his tuxedo jacket and bow tie.

He was not much of a talker but neither was Lulu, who was more interested in the leaves at his feet.

She did pause between bites and commented on his bright toenail polish.  (Much to her regret, she hasn't convinced me to paint her toenails yet.)

At one point, Lulu looked up and said, "Nice jacket, buddy but where are your pants!"

The dinosaur harrumphed and Lulu went back to her snack.

The next relative was Rex, the worlds largest dinosaur.  He stands 25 meters (82 feet) high.

Lulu stood on his toe and exclaimed, "I can see all the way across the parking lot to our car!"

"Boy, Rex,"  Lulu commented, "you really need to take better care of yourself.  Look how wrinkled your toes are getting!"

When asked is she wanted to climb the stairs and see the badlands view from within Rex's mouth, Lulu declined.  She decided she was high enough for her liking.

Across the park we ran into T-Rex.  Lulu posed in her best dinosaur pose -

and then went back to her more favorite past time of snacking.

I did get her to strike a pose with Rex and T-Rex before we headed back out on the road.

But not before a few more bites of grass.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lulu and Woodenhead

We're back!  After over three weeks, Lulu and I are home.  First thing Lulu did was have a dustbath in the flowerbed as I unloaded the car.  Oh the carefree life of a chicken! (especially a house chicken!!)

Check back to the Halloween entry as I added the pics of Lulu.  She was not too happy with me that day.  She didn't like dressing up at all.

My mom is doing fine.  She's getting out and about with my dad's help.  The swelling in her wrists have gone down and she is able to be without the sling for a short time.  She has some frustration having to depend on my dad for so much but that is understandable as they both are very independent. 

Today, I'll share pics of Lulu in Revelstoke, BC checking out a blockhead.

Here is Lulu looking at old "Woodenhead".

"You don't expect me to read this, do you?' asked Lulu.

Here is the story of Woodenhead.

"He isn't too sociable," said Lulu.  "He just sits there and stares like a block of wood."

"He does have a friendly smile, though," she mused.  "But enough of this, I'm ready to hit the road again."  And so we did.