Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Homemade Cheese Crackers

So, I am a salty person all the way.  I would much rather have a bag of popcorn for dessert over ice cream.  Almost any day!  The hubs just doesn't understand.  I am also a snacker.  Which bugs me but just the way it is.  Since we have cut out high processed foods, there I some things that I just down right miss.  Like Cheez Its.  Full of crap but oh so yummy.  

So browsing around Pinterest, I found this recipe and thought I would give it a go.  I wouldn't go as far to say that they taste just like them, but they are pretty darn good and don't have all the unnecessary junk in them!  Woohoo!

Here's the recipe:

8 oz shredded cheese.  (I used organic sharp cheddar
1 c. all purpose flour (I used organic whole wheat pastry flour)
4 T butter (again, organic)
3-4 T ice water

1. First, mix together the shredded cheese,  half of the salt and the softened butter. Add in the flour and mix until the dough gets clumps. Then, with the mixer running begin adding the ice water and mix until a soft dough forms. Use as much ice water as you need for a dough to form.

2. Divide the dough in two, form each into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes. Then, roll the dough out on a floured surface into about an 1/8 inch thickness and using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into about 1 inch squares. (Yeah, I don't have fancy cutters like that so I used a knife and cut squares and then poked holes in the top! Easy Peasy)

3. Preheat your oven to 375 deg F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer your little crackers onto the parchment paper, then sprinkle them with the rest of the salt. Bake for about 7 - 10 minutes (I actually undercooked the first batch.  They came out a little doughy.  I cooked the second batch for 15 minutes.  Just keep an eye on them.), or until they have puffed up and the edges begin to brown. Let cool before eating. (They are best eaten right away, but you can store them in an airtight container).

Here they are in all their glory!

Yuuuuuuumy!  They really aren't hard to make or take much time.  Win win!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Garden Planning

According to my fancy gardening book, it's time to start planning for next year's garden.  Don't have to ask me twice!  

First things first.  I was hoping to use as much space as I could for a garden.  Since we are renters, I can't just turn our lawn in the backyard into a giant garden.  Although, that's what I REALLY want to do.  The next best thing will be raised beds around the edges of the yard.  I pulled out hubby's measuring tape and started measuring.  He figured with my measurements (I ALWAYS leave the math to him) that we could have 7 raised beds in our yard.  That's more than I was expecting!  Three will be 3'x6', two will be 3'x8' and two will be 3'x5'.  This leaves room to walk around and in-between them.  GREAT! 

Next step was to pick what I am wanting to grow!  Oh, the decisions!  SOOO many options.  I stuck with things I KNOW we (chickens included) will eat and preserve.  Once I had my list, I went online and found what KINDS of the vegetable I wanted to grow and how much space they need.  For example:  Carrots - Rainbow - 2-4".  

So with my list ready, I pulled out some graphing paper.  Now to plan what goes where.  On our graph, each square would represent 4".  So I went ahead and put in everything I wanted to plant according to the space they need.  HOLY COW!  I didn't realize how much I am going to be able to plant!  That was SUPER exciting!  I mean, carrots alone, I should be able to plant just over 200 in less than half a bed!  And these are just the raised beds!  I still have the area next to the coop to plan and all the planters for the deck!  I am thinking I will plant a pumpkin in the bed next to the coop and do my herbs in the planters.  It gets so hot next to the coop against the house, I think the pumpkins will do well.  

So that's the plan this far!  It MIGHT change between now and when it's time to start but I think it's a great start. 

Now to start finding cheap ways to make seven raised beds!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season.  Especially here in Colorado.  It's the best of all seasons, I think.  You have cold, brisk days.  Some days of snow, and some days are warm enough to have the windows open.  EVERYTHING is bright with warm colors.  It's just gorgeous.  

I've been prepping as much as I can figure out how for our garden next Spring.  This whole gardening thing is still pretty new and I'm trying to do it as organically as possible.  I got this book for my birthday and it has been a HUGE help.  

So, I've been adding as much as I can to our compost bin and covered our beds that we have with chicken manure and shavings.  I put a LOT of leaves on top of the manure and shavings as well.  It should protect the dirt underneath from wind and snow and erosion and break down into compost by spring.  

My friends have been a very big help with bringing leaves.  We don't have trees in our backyard and our tree in the front is just a little guy so all it's leaves just blew away instead of falling down.  *sigh* But I've had plenty to go around with all that people have given me.  I'm still hoping for more before the wind blows them away and winter hits.  

I put them in Kelsey's garden, a good 5-6" layer.  They are also on top of the garlic I planted.  (which sprouted already! Not sure how that will end up but I guess we'll see!)  

I also had enough to put in the chicken coop.  It's kind of an experiment.  To be honest, I haven't heard of people doing it, although I'm sure they do.  There is about 2-3" of shavings below the 6" of leaves in the coop. I might add in some straw if it gets smelly because of all the "green" compared to "brown" for the deep litter method.  But my hope is that it breaks down well and helps keep them warm in the winter.  I am not heating their coop with a light this winter.  I want it to be as organic as possible and let their little bodies go through their natural cycles.  And what's more natural than leaves?  :)  It's also very pretty to look at.  A coop full of leaves and nesting boxes with leaves and fresh eggs.

Happy Fall everyone!