Super buckwheat brownies

This brownie recipe grew from one I read at Cutterlight.com. These two write and cook from Alaska- beautiful images, stories and recipes.

New year mode for me does mean less sugar , wheat, dairy  blah blah blah. So everyone that eats my food also gets less sugar, wheat and dairy. At least till I want to start eating them again. No problem cutting out processed foods- we literally don’t eat them… except mayonnaise and maybe store bought condiments like kimchi I want to test out.  I don’t see wheat and sugar as villains per se- I just see them piling up calories.  Eat them in moderation- what a great idea. But generally I don’t. Dairy will be back in full force in a couple months when our four does kid and we have goat milk and cheese coming out our ears. Our cow, Else is ready to be bred. I’d so like to have fresh cow milk and mostly butter. I am trying to make a clear decision about time, energy and focus. I can’t decide if it’s something on my bucket list that should be tried for a year or if that’s not where I want my time and energy to go. She will likely produce 2-3 gallons/day (and that’s once a day milking)! Honestly, I want cream and butter- cow milk makes me a little congested. I must be nuts.

Back to the brownies.

I LOVE HOW PRETTY THIS IS BUT THE BITS ON TOP MIGHT BURN!

If you cook them at a lower temp- 325° with no convection fan they might hold out. These photos were taken before they went in the oven.

I manipulated Cutterlight’s brownie recipe to be GF with buckwheat flour and coconut sugar. Yes- it is still sugar and sweet and maybe a notch less on the glycemic index. Works for me.

I used Valrhona cocoa powder and their 70% Andoa Noire feves and Guittard’s organic 74% wafers. Both lightly chopped. I buy my chocolate by the kilo from Chocosphere. The base is buckwheat flour, almond flour and butter, eggs and oil (I did coconut, avocado and sunflower). You’ll likely want to fold in the nibs and goji berries so they don’t burn. You can mix everything but nuts, chocolate and berries, up together in one bowl, then fold those in.

Spoon into your cast iron or baking dish and bake. COOL THEM before cutting and eating. Brownies are easy but can trick you into thinking they are over or undercooked. They sort themselves out if you let them cool down. DO NOT judge until they are room temp. In this sense they are not a quick go to in my book. Stick with cookies if you need to bake and EAT immediately.

Our hens are laying again. HOORAY! I really miss having a steady supply of eggs. We have 28 hens of varying ages and 1 rooster trying to keep them all safe and in order. I actually tagged them last fall- we’ll cull the older hens for stew meat (we’ll probably let them go till around 4 yrs old or so). We bought 12 chicks Labor Day weekend 2017 from the farmstore- no shipping costs! They started laying little eggs this week as well- did you know they start smaller? It should be a good year for eggs. And goat milk ice cream!

 

super buckwheat brownies

  • Servings: 10-12pc
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*Note: Add superfood & nuts as desired!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa power
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup- mild oils – I use sunflower, avocado an/or coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T brandy or bourbon (what you have on hand)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chopped but I like it chunky or chips
  • ½ cup pecans chopped
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs
  • ¼  goji berries

Directions

  • Easy way- Mix all ingredients in one bowl – add chocolate chunks, nibs and goji berries
  • For double, triple or more batches- Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately- Then add chocolate chunks, cocoa nibs and goji berries.
  • -Spoon brownie mix into two greased 6” cast iron pans or one greased 9×9 square baker. You can also line baker with parchment paper and lightly grease.
  • Bake at 350° for 18-25min.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool! Brownies need time to settle and adjust to the atmosphere!! I find they often seem undercooked or overcooked and then hours later they self adjust.
  • Remove from baker once cooled.
  • We eat straight from the mini cast iron pans till gone (hopefully they last more than 24 hours)

Now go make some brownies. And if you are so inclined #starroutekitchen – let me know if you do any recipe tweaking and how they turn out.

x wendy

  • SUNRISE: 7:37 AM    SUNSET: 5:15 PM
  • Length of Visible Light: 10 h 44 m
  • Length of Day: 9 h 37 m
  • Tomorrow will be 3 minutes 5 seconds longer

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Finding beauty in January

It’s easy to feel a little low energy on these gray January days despite the increasing 1-2 minutes of light each day.  I needed to bring in a little positive vibe and motivation so I took my camera around the property on a little discovery tour. January can be beautiful too.

I started in the garden. Kale trees in the rear. Chard debating whether to start growing again. Red cabbage planted out in July,  I’m hoping it will overwinter and grow cabbages in spring.

I’m hoping the broccoli, also planted in July, will put off early spring shoots.

This little broccoli head stopped growing a couple months ago but is still strong and green. Any chance it would still form a head? (Not a rhetorical question!)

Overall view of muddy, wet garden just for winter reference.

Moving to the pasture…Irene is tired of the mud I’m sure.

Else loves pumpkins and doesn’t appear to even notice the mud.

Sometimes they share…sort of.

On to the barn…This barn we are loving was built by Drew Reed on Orcas. It’s high and dry. One day I’ll post the project in full. We started in a very wet March 2017 and finished Sept 17.. tbc

down below the barn the goats eating leftover veggie bits from Star Route Kitchen.

On up and around to the backside of the property to the pond.

The pond overflows this time of the year…

And creates these beautiful forces of water.

I met with friends this week and took away ideas, support, motivation and some good laughs. One thing in particular we talked about, around planning, was scheduling in time to just think and daydream- like Socrates and the Greek philosophers did. They weren’t just sitting around doing nothing. They were only creating the basics of our modern philosophy. I know I need this time as well and it’s hard to prioritize it because you aren’t “doing” –  you’re not even meditating. I think it’s something missing for many, as even the short free moments, in the elevator, filling up the gas tank, or waiting in lines, we are plugged in. I’m going to sit and stare out the window- at least a few times a week and channel some greek philosophers.

Any suggestions or thoughts on how you like to daydream? And keep it nice!

Want to hear a fantastic podcast?  Tom Hanks on Beautiful Writer’s Mind.

Winter! Do your work- for the money and the soul (maybe you’re fortunate enough that it’s the same thing), your tasks, your yoga, your meditation, your care giving, your workouts… and remember to make time to just daydream. You’ll like it:)

 

Lighter shades of gray for just a little longer  each day now.  Weather Underground

  • SUNRISE: 7:50 AM    SUNSET: 4:59 PM
  • Length of Visible Light: 10 h 17 m
  • Length of Day: 9 h 08 m
  • Tomorrow will be 2 minutes 42 seconds longer

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Shitake sesame kelp noodles

So what’s up with these kelp noodles.

I see references and recipes as far back as 2012 on Elana’s Pantry but they didn’t hit my radar till this past year and I still had only tried them a couple of times.  I put them on our Star Route Kitchen menu last week and to be honest, when I first pulled them, out I was a little nervous.

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Welcome 2018

Happy New Year! 

Within the chaos of the world we are living, I am striving to move forward with love, compassion, high vibes and knowledge. I am striving as well, to stay informed, conscious and aware. On the east side of our wet, green, island, stands our slice of land where we can grow food, breath clean, fresh air, and drink safe water. I am grateful each day to be here with someone I love creating a space where people can come enjoy nourishment, nature and the love of animals.

This time of the year we are feeding the critters just after daybreak and just before dusk.  I’m noticing the light of  day is expanding now, no longer contracting. And I feel the same in myself. 2017 brought various joys & challenges and led us into 2018 with a lot of strength, relief, encouragement and determination. I’m setting big goals and this year and I’m working on breaking them down into bitesize tasks. I’m also scheduling in free days, social days and appointments when possible. And I’m working on my feelings along side those tasks and goals.  My truth, alignment, following my gut. Yes that. It works for me and it might for you. I feel fortunate and grateful to have the choices I do. I’ve always been a planner and a list maker but I’m taking it up a notch. At least that’s my New Year’s intention:) I’m on board with the idea of how do I want, or how do I expect, to feel when I have accomplished xxyy and zz. And to support these efforts,  I am using this Soul Planner.

I’m reading  from things like this-  NYTimes,  Gabby Bernstein, and Danielle Laporte. As well as Mind Body Green, Modern Farmer and Chalkboard Magazine. I love podcasts from Radio Cherry Bombe and Beautiful Writer’s  And another online publication I’m really inspired by is Fine Line Mag. In these and others I sift, collect and process. And last thing… I AM GOING TO BE 50 YEARS OLD IN APRIL. I’m going to not just embrace but celebrate!

JANUARY 14,2018

SUNRISE: 8:00 AM  SUNSET: 4:42 PM
Length of Day
8 h 42 m

Tomorrow will be 2 minutes 4 seconds longer

  • FORECAST High 52 °F Low 44 °F 
  • AVERAGE High  43 °F Low 36 °F 
  • Rain  0.00 in

 

roasted carrot ginger turmeric soup & dukah

I’ve got a new gig I’m loving. We are finishing up the second month of Star Route Kitchen food club. We’re preparing and delivering from scratch, whole food menus to a handful of Orcas Island residents. Check out my new Star Route Kitchen page where you can get some ideas of your own for plan ahead foods to have for the week.

We are currently in R&D mode these last few months of the year. I’m asking for feedback on recipes, logistics of packaging and delivering and getting my cooking chops back on track. Chloe and I are having a blast on Mondays cooking and on Tuesdays delivering. We may add next year, a second menu option such as anti-inflammatory or something in that direction. The goal, in season at least, is to use our garden goods and island farm produce and stay on the wonderful trend that has been happening… Keeping it local. And I clearly state that is not exclusive. I will buy from around the world but always organic when available. The food that leaves my kitchen is the quality of the food we eat at home and my standards are high.

Last week,  this  carrot, ginger, turmeric soup with a coconut milk and veggie stock base rocked. Not to toot my own horn… or Ollie’s (my  awesome, jazz trumpet playing husband for any new readers). It was warming and tasty especially with the Dukah we made to garnish it. And here I added a little goat yogurt.

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New gardens

We’ve had a busy summer- what’s new? That’s a rhetorical question! Along with completing the new barn which I’ll detail in a future post, we did massive amounts of clearing including the east and south side of our house.

We’ve got a pretty sweet landscape set up in the front (north side) and a back patio on the east but there were areas that we just basically never got to in the last twenty years. It’s been really amazing getting so much light on the south side. duh. Having built our home twenty years ago, I think partly the trees have grown a lot and partly I didn’t know better when siting the house.

Here’s our back porch on the east side- above the stonewall is a cover crop of buckwheat.

Our plan is to do raised beds and bring the kitchen garden, well, closer to the kitchen! Like out the back door. I’d love to see this happen next year but it will depend on the soil condition. We may have to ‘grow” soil the first year.

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Summer salads

It’s so summer. I could almost say the hottest, driest summer I can remember. It’s been roughly 6 weeks that have reminded me of  growing up in Florida where virtually everyday the sun rises and stays out shining hot. Except here it’s about 70 degrees instead of 90. I’ll take it.

We earned it here in the PNW. I didn’t get the garden in till the third week of May because it was so wet. The four leggers and 2 leggers were slopping around in mud pretty much till the end of May.

Our four goat mama’s  cranked out three sets of triplets and one set of twins. We had a full house with 11 kids and 4 moms. And so we are building a new BARN. Ollie is so supportive of this venture- it also gives his farming roots a chance to grow and thrive…  The boat and/or sports car has been bumped to the next decade:)

We (well they) will be moving in by September and we’ll be ready to bring on the winter.

wendyellenthomas.com

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goat kids on the move!

It’s a sweet time on the farm when the kids are due. Anticipation, nervousness, excitement join to form a feeling that sort of keeps you on edge, and a little bit holding your breath and not realizing it. I actually start looking at photos of baby goats from the previous year. I’m constantly in the barn monitoring (but not sleeping there like some with many, many goats) I check the kidding kit and track down missing parts or say pull the same snot sucker, (baby nasal aspirator) thing from the bathroom drawer that I had used for my kids 20 years ago. This is still only our third year and I’ve not needed it previously but maybe this time. Our does have mostly done it all themselves with only a little assistance for a couple and they’ve all been born healthy.

Especially with social media, I see I’m not alone in this just post empty nest time. I love being a mom and in some little way I get to help “mother” the kids:) They can’t help but fill your heart. Their trust, vulnerability and curiosity are powerful. And it’s just plain fun and so amusing. Holding a baby goat brings you very much into the present and just gives you a moment to step outside of a sometimes crazy world.  I’m grateful we have the opportunity to experience this process and share it with others. We’ve so enjoyed all the visitors the last two weeks.  We are grateful for another successful kidding season with 11 out of 11 strong, healthy kids. And we will be looking for new homes in the near future!

So let’s get to it…There’s a lot of goat kid cuteness all over the web- here is what we have to add.

First to give birth on April 3rd was Dinah our Lagerian (they don’t have their own wikipedia link). She’s a cross between a La Mancha who have the elf or gopher ear trait(we call them all nubby ears) and a Nigerian Dwarf. You hope for the butterfat of the Nigerian with a little larger size/milk capacity of the La Mancha who also have very sweet personalities.  She kidded, cleaned them and they were nursing by the time we saw them. She’s like that.

With her buckling Duffy.

goat kids

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farm update- kids are coming (goats that is)

We are on our second day of sun. Well, dry and partly sun at least. It has been a very long rainy season- like for reals not just “seems like the wettest year EVER!” We have all been sloshing through mud and we are over it. #Mudzen.

Here’s a glimpse of most of the farm fam… Click here to see where this began.

#starrouteorcas

Add some chickens in there and our land mates’ Blue Healer, Jasper.

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Carrot, ginger, turmeric, cashew smoothie

AKA  “Golden Bliss smoothie” – thought I should just say what it is straight off there in the title but I like Golden Bliss:)

We’ve been drinking this colorful, energy packed smoothie many a winter morning and straight on into spring. It’s packed with protein,  immune boosting and  anti-inflammatory properties.

I could drink it everyday because it tastes so damn good but we alternate with the berry spinach smoothie. The carrot conversation was happening for me as we (me again at least) have been influenced by media that carrots are high sugar (albeit natural) and carbs and then the Glycemic Index (GI) gets thrown in there and that sounds serious. In the last decade research on not only GI is readily available but also GL- Glycemic Load- which is how the body processes the food. It’s similar with our cholesterol scores. You’ve got to read the fine print- HDL LDL and ratio… Here are a couple links to check out on GI and GL  …..  TTYL (just kidding).

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