Friday, December 19, 2014

Homemade Bulk Pancake Mix - Guest blogger Andrea McEwen

Hello again, from North Pole, AK, where we are having a relatively warm and easy winter. We haven’t even seen -20 yet!  We only have about a foot of snow so far, and the northern lights have been very active this winter.  God is good all the time, even when it is -50, but it sure is easier to milk goats and keep chickens happy at these balmy temperatures!
The last time I posted, I shared my recipe for instant oatmeal.  Sticking with the breakfast theme, I am going to share my pancake recipe today.  I’ll give you a small recipe that you can try out, and then at the end I will give you my bulk equivalent recipe if you decide, like me, that this needs to be a regular staple in your kitchen!  Here is what you will need:

1 C flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
1 egg
1 C milk
3 T oil
*If you add another egg and a little oil, this works for waffles also.

Place your milk, egg, and oil in a mixing bowl and whisk together lightly.  Add the flour in 1 cup at a time, whisking slightly between cups.  

Then add the baking powder and salt and mix well.  Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes, it will get bubbly and rise slightly.  If your batter seems a little thick, add a little milk.  I like mine thinner, but some people like theirs thick to soak up the syrup! 

 Heat your griddle to 350* or your skillet on your stovetop.  I like to butter my griddle before beginning for buttery pancakes, but it isn’t necessary.  Pour your batter onto the griddle in small circles, 3-4” diameter.   

When they start to bubble on top or dry around the edges, flip them over carefully.  When the middle seems like it should be done, put those ones on a plate and do it again!  Homemade pancakes are delicious, and really simple to make!  For my family of 5, a 2 cup batch will mix up enough pancakes if I am serving some eggs or meat with them.  If it is strictly pancakes, then I make a 3 cup batch.  Serve them with butter and maple syrup, and I guarantee they will lick their plates when you aren’t looking!

By the way, I love to use fresh ground soft white wheat flour in my recipe, but any flour will do.  However, fresh ground flour loses nutrition quickly, so when I make up large batches of this mix I stick it in my freezer (also known as the great outdoors this time of year!)  I also use fresh goat’s milk and eggs from my Chicken Scratch Poultry layers.

All right, I also promised you a bulk recipe, so here it is:
24 C flour
1 ½ C baking powder
4 T salt

Mix it up thoroughly, and put it in an airtight container for future enjoyment.  For every cup of mix, add in 1 C milk, 1 egg, and 3 T oil.  Sometimes, if I am taking this mix camping or fishing, I will add in some powdered milk to make it even easier.  I would add about 3 C of milk powder to the full batch, then all you need is water and eggs for your pancakes!
Well, I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine does!  I would love to hear from you when you try it out!   - Andrea

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Homemade Ricotta Goat Cheese

I shared with you last week about how I learned to milk a goat while visiting our family in North Pole Alaska.  It was such a neat experience, goats are such sweet animals and from what I could tell just by being with them a few days, goats seem to be fairly easy to care for and don't require a large amount of room to keep them.  That being said I don't have goats myself, so I could be totally wrong. One thing I do know is that if you plan on getting goats for milking, this is not a job you can take a break from, you milk twice a day on a goats schedule not your own schedule.
After we had milked the goats I was interested in tasting the milk for the first time and Andrea, my sister in law also suggested we make a quick and easy Ricotta cheese.  Larry and I poured a small glass and swirled and sniffed it as if we were wine tasting and then took our first sips of goat milk.  It was surprisingly very good.  Larry and I had both been disappointed in the past at tasting goat cheese for the first time, so we were a bit gun shy at tasting the milk.

Ricotta Cheese
This recipe can be halved or doubled and can also be made using whole cows milk form the store if you don't have a goat.

Heat 1 gallon milk to 206 degrees

Add 1/4 cup white vinegar, stir in 1 Tablespoon at a time until the whey is a clear green.

Stirring gently, the curds will begin to form.

Notice how the whey has turned a light green.  This process only takes a few minuets.

Gently ladle the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander and drain for 1 minute.

Place the curds in a bowl and mix in 3 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.  Refrigerate and enjoy.  I must say it was delicious! 
Now your ready to make a delicious lasagna or baked spaghetti.
Leave us a comment, we would love to hear of your experience with goats, let us know if you find them easy to work with and care for.  Do you find them useful?  How many products can you produce with a goat?  Come on goat lovers share with us.
     Have a Blessed day!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Milking A Goat

During our visit in North Pole Alaska a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of milking a goat for the first time ever.  I was a little nervous at first but the goats are so sweet and didn't seem to mind a stranger at the milk stand.  My hands where pretty cold at first and I apologized to her, she seemed to say, "that's ok I'm use to it."  I found that milking was a little harder than I imagined it would be.  I guess with practice I would get better, I never really got much of a rhythm down.

Before we began milking, Andrea cleaned the teats very well, gave the goat a scoop of food, and gave me instruction to watch so that the goat did not step in the milk pail.  I think that's what made me a bit nervous, I didn't want to be the newbie that allowed the goat to ruin the milk. 

I was a very slow milker, I guess practice makes perfect.  By the time I had finished trying, the goat was out of food and looking over her shoulder like what's taking so long back there.
 When Andrea took over, she had the rhythm down very well and two goats milked within just a couple of minutes.
The following day our nephew Brody thought he would teach Larry how to milk.  Within the first couple of minutes the goat had stepped in the milk pail and Larry was fired.  I guess he'll stick to chicken farming.
Check back with us real soon and we'll make Ricotta cheese with the goat milk.
A big thank you to our family in Alaska for a great time and new experiences.
Have a great day.