Stand Upon Grace

Homesteading with heart~Cultivating the art of intentional living

Bircher-Muesli

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Otherwise known as easy overnight oats.  

YUM!

Bircher-Muesli is a simple, traditional, soaked & cultured, overnight oatmeal that takes just a few moments before bedtime to be ready upon your rising in the morning.  It is worth those moments, you are worthy of those moments.  Making this muesli in a mason jar makes it a quick and portable healthy breakfast choice whether you are heading out the door and into the car, or out onto the deck for a breakfast picnic.

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Using keifer to soak your oats and seeds elevates this Bircher-Muesli recipe. You get the beautiful probiotic lovelies from the keifer, which also unlock the oat’s full potential within your body.  It is gluten-free, if you choose thick rolled oats that are processed in a grain free facility.

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I love the addition of chia seeds to traditional Bircher-Muesli.  Paired alongside the addition of keifer and homemade almond milk, this beautiful breakfast becomes a creamy, nourishing delight to awaken the senses.  The thick, rich consistency is complemented by the crunch of nuts, seeds, and grated apple sprinkled over.

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Add a handful of colorful, seasonal berries, a sprinkle of coconut flakes, a glimmer of honey or maple syrup to top off your morning, with the aroma of lovingly strewn cinnamon wafting gently amongst oats and fruit, Bircher-Muesli, is a raw, wholly nurturing way to enhance your wellbeing and elevate your day.

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Bircher-Muesli

serves 1

1/2 c.  thick rolled oats

2 T.  chia seeds

1 c.  prepared keifer*

pinch of salt

the night before 

Place oats, chia seeds, salt, and keifer into a pint size Mason jar.  Stir well to combine.  Cover and let sit on the countertop, or in a cupboard overnight.

in the morning

Add to your soaked oats and seeds:

1/2 to 3/4 c.  Almond, coconut, or milk of your choosing

1 apple, grated

A handful fresh, seasonal berries

a sprinkle of coconut

a dash of cinnamon

a glimmer of honey or maple syrup

top with almonds, walnuts, pecans, an/or seeds of your liking, to add a little crunch

Stir and enjoy immediately, or place lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator.

*if you do not have prepared keifer at the ready, you may use 1/2 to 1 cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt, buttermilk, or fresh lemon juice.  Just remember that the amount of probiotic loveliness will change when you use another soaking medium.

 

 

 

 

Making Coconut Milk

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I choose to elevate both my mind and body through beautiful nourishing whole foods.

Natural homemade coconut milk is a refreshingly light, dreamy milk that pairs beautifully with fresh herbs and the tastes of summer.  Whether imbibing in coconut milk straight up, or on the rocks with fresh chocolate mint muddled into a fabulous summer sunshine afternoon mocktail, homemade coconut milk will elevate any ordinary moment into an extraordinary one.

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We each have the opportunity to choose to elevate our lives and bodies by nourishing ourselves with simple, beautiful, whole fresh organic food, lovingly prepared, while enhancing our natural vitality and wellbeing.  Pure + simple whole foods, offer us an organically energizing, euphoric experience.  Nourishing body and soul deeply allows us to rise up to our best selves each and every day.

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Homemade Coconut Milk

makes aprox 4 cups

1 1/2 c. shredded organic unsweetened coconut

4 c.  boiling water

Place coconut shreds into a medium sized glass, or stainless mixing bowl.  Pour boiling water over the top.  Allow to steep 1-2 hours.

Pour steeped coconut/water mixture in blender, blend on high 2 min.

Strain through a nutmilk bag, or cheesecloth.

Store extra milk in a mason jar in the refrigerator.

Drink with Joy!

Banana Cashew Milk

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I choose joy.

I choose to gently nourish my body.

Since the loss of my beloved Miss Coco, I have chosen to once again embrace plant based milk.  Without my beautiful raw milk, I am in a position to either let go of milk completely, or plow fully head on into the wonderfully wide world of beautiful, homemade, nourishing whole food, non-dairy options.  Processed dairy is no longer a viable option for me, as I have finally realized that it is a detriment to my body, my health, and my vitality.  So rather than lament over what is no longer working for me, I have decided to be bold and embrace what is.

I choose to gently nourish my body with lovingly made plant based milks, like this fantastic, dreamy, Banana Cashew Milk.  Now, don’t get all skittish on me, if this sounds a little weird to you, hold on tight, because it’s a wild ride to the pioneering side of rich and creamy, cashew based milk.

Cashew milk is amazing and lovely all at the same time.  It’s silky creaminess is reminiscent of my fresh raw goat’s milk, providing deep nourishment as well as comfort.

It is the most simple non-dairy plant based milk to make, as all that is required is an overnight soaking of the cashews, a quick rinse, and a final blend.  No straining through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth is required.  Although, I did find that without straining there were a few small pieces of cashew left in the milk, so if you do not have a super fancy high powered blender, you may choose to strain this milk, or enjoy in a few bonus crunchies at the bottom of your glass! 

With the addition of banana, this milk is elevated to a whole new level.  It is thick and comforting with a touch of banana sweetness hinting at a milkshake, or an indulgent dessert, without becoming too sweet to still be enjoyed for breakfast.

Banana Cashew Milk also makes a fabulous chia pudding for a treat anytime, day or night.  It is simple to make, the texture reminiscent of tapioca pudding, with smooth banana flavor mingling gently alongside vanilla, it is the epitome of comfort food.

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Banana Cashew Milk

1 frozen banana

1 c.  raw cashews

splash of vanilla

1-2 T.  maple syrup, grade b, optional

3 c.  cold water + more for soaking

On the evening before:

Peel, and chop the banana into one inch pieces.  Place into a lidded, freezer proof container and freeze overnight.

Soak cashews in a small bowl with 1 tsp. sea salt dissolved into 2 cups of tepid water, or enough water to cover nuts by one inch.

Cover with a towel or cheesecloth and leave to soak overnight.

In the morning: 

Rinse and drain the soaked cashews.  Place them into the blender with the frozen banana, 3 cups of water, and a splash of vanilla.

Blend on high for 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.

Taste, broadly smile, and indulge immediately.

optional: 

Strain through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth if desired.  I didn’t find this step necessary, however there were a few small pieces of cashew left in the bottom of the blender–use your own discretion.

I found the original recipe here on this fantastic blog.  Please visit, you will be awed.

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Banana Cashew Chia Pudding

Serves 1

1 c.  prepared banana cashew milk

3 T.  chia seeds

make:

In a glass jelly jar, place 3 tablespoons chia seeds.

Pour banana cashew milk over top, and stir. Place lid on jar.

Let rest in refrigerator overnight, or for several hours until mixture has thickened to pudding consistency.

enjoy deeply.

About: Me

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Time spent in gardens and barns reminds me deeply of who I am.  Nurturing seeds, encouraging growth, gently allowing the season to unfold before my eyes in the garden brings joy with the arrival of each new, in season fruit, veggie, or herb.  The sweet nuzzle of Ms. Coco during the morning milking mingling with the smells of fresh manure and sweet feed connect me to the roots of what feeds my soul.  Working with my hands, creating this life for myself and my family, homegrown, heart-lead, and pioneering our way through each and every day, helps me to remember to stay connected, to choose wisely my thoughts and actions, and live freely and intentionally.  I thought perhaps maybe it is time to update my about page, and reveal a bit more of the “me” behind the keyboard.

It is hard to speak truth about your own self.  Even if the truth is good, maybe especially if the truth is good.  It is not easy to bare your soul and expose your heart, hoping that other’s will understand, or at the very least, not chastise.  Perhaps it is age, or maybe even a little wisdom seeping in around edges, however, more than likely, it is an allowing of myself to let go of fears of acceptance, and allow me to be seen more fully and truthfully–a peek into the mirror of my soul, the person whom I was created to be.   I am compelled to tear back the veil, and begin to allow others to know my truth.  It is my hope and intention, that in the sharing of myself, my story, and my family, that others will become emboldened to rise up and live the life they feel called to.  An authentic, purposeful life, that by just living it, will inspire others to seek their own true north, and empower each individual to live their personal truth.

It is reality that there are dust bunnies under my couch, and stinging nettle growing by the front steps.  The weeds are high in the garden, and the chicken coop needs cleaning.  Life is dirty, gritty, and sometimes just plain hard.  There are beautiful, perfect moments, to help balance the imperfect ugly of others.  There are seasons that reflect both the joy and the struggle of growing, loving, and living.

But at the root of it all is truth, this living, the plain ol’ doin’ the best you can in the moment, or season of life.  Tilling fertile soil of children and family, planting seeds, nurturing through the dirt, the rain, the sunshine, and the wind takes grit and heart.  There is everyday growth that helps us become the best version of who we are, that elevates us into clarity, revealing our purpose, our passions, our creative way that we choose to live this gift of a life.

My intention is to use this space to share, inspire and empower others by telling my story.  The story of who I am.  The story of our pioneering journey as a family, back to the homestead, back to home, back to our hearts, and the roots of who we are, and what kind of life we desire to live, has been elemental in creating, living, and expressing our truth as individuals, a couple, and a family.  It is our God-given calling to live simply, love deeply, and dare boldly to create a life filled with joy and each other, which has taken us out of mainstream-keeping-up-with-the-jones’ living, and back to the land, back to basics, back to each other.

Maple Bacon Kale

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Mmmmmmmm……

Everything is better with bacon.

Especially rich, dark leafy greens.  Combining kale with the creaminess  of thick cut, home-cured smokey bacon is a match made in heaven, kissed with a tease of maple, you can’t go wrong.

Maple Bacon Kale

1 1/2 lb. Fresh Kale, washed, stems removed and chopped

1/2 lb.  Thick cut bacon

1/4 c.  Maple syrup, grade B, dark

Sea salt or Redmond Real Salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste

Roughly chop bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.  Sauté in cast iron skillet until nearly crisp and lard has been rendered out.

Remove bacon and grease from skillet, set aside.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of rendered bacon grease back into the same cast iron skillet you used to cook bacon.

Heat bacon grease to a sizzle over medium high heat, carefully add kale, if it is still damp it could splatter the hot grease.

Sauté kale, stirring constantly until just wilted, add bacon bits back in, and pour maple syrup over top.

Sauté 20-30 seconds more.  Remove from heat.

Top with salt of choice, and fresh ground pepper, indulge immediately.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Gluten-Free)

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There is something about chocolate that soothes the soul.  Perhaps it’s all those gorgeous antioxidants flooding your system, or yet more likely, the sweet release of endorphins into your bloodstream as you bite, that makes chocolate that much better.  Whatever the case may be, these double chocolate zucchini muffins will bring deep and imminent satisfaction to the most discerning choco-holic.

These muffins are light and moist, a delectable treat any time of the day.  They make an indulgent breakfast with a fresh cup of steaming, aromatic coffee, or an evening dessert, made over little black dress style, with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting.

They are that good.

These muffins can even stand up to a birthday treat accessorized with dark chocolate shavings, or perhaps, gasp, sprinkles.  They may in fact lead a secret double life as an exotic, sexy dark chocolate cupcake. You would never guess that they are loaded with fresh summer squash, and all things lovely for you.

Oh! And double bonus, they are made with coconut flour, making them packed with fiber and protein, as well as being completely grain/gluten-free.

The dueling personalities of the double chocolate zucchini muffin allows you to decide which quality you would like to enhance, the sensible by day muffin, or the late night sparkly party girl cupcake. Either way, these delectable little cakes are loaded with body and soul goodness, and may even get you into that sexy little black dress.

You can’t go wrong.  Make these today.

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

makes approx. 20 muffins

1 c.  Organic Coconut Flour

2/3 c.  Cocoa

1 1/2 t.  Baking Soda

1/2 t.  Redmond Real Salt, or Sea Salt

1 c.  Coconut oil, melted

1/2 c.  Honey

1/4 c.  Blackstrap Molasses

6 Lg. Eggs (farm fresh is best)

1/2 c.  Clabbered, or Sour Milk*

2 c.  Shredded Zucchini

1 c.  Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet, or dark)

Optional:  Shredded coconut, and raw sugar to sprinkle on tops of muffins.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare muffin tins, either by using baking cups or greasing well with coconut oil.

Sift together coconut flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl, and set aside.

In a stand mixer set to medium low, combine coconut oil, honey, and molasses.  Mix well for 1 min.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after the addition of each.

With the mixer running, alternating with the dry ingredients, add approximately 1/4c. of clabbered, or sour milk.  Add about 1/3 of dry mixture, continuing to alternate wet and dry, until both are incorporated, being sure that all are mixed well.

Mix on medium for 1 minute more.  Batter will thicken and resemble cake batter.

Fold in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips.

Gently scoop batter into prepared muffin tins, filling 3/4 full.  Add a light sprinkle of shredded coconut and a little raw sugar, just to fancy things up a bit, or leave plain if topping with frosting for a celebratory treat.

Bake 25-30 minutes.

*a quick note on clabbered milk.  If you are lucky enough to have beautiful raw milk you may use clabbered milk, which is raw milk that has been naturally cultured.

To prepare clabbered milk, pour warm, freshly strained raw milk into a clean mason jar, secure lid over top, and allow to culture at room temperature for 12-24 hours until milk begins to set and separate.  

If you do not have fresh raw milk, please do not try this with pasteurized milk, it will not work.  Use the shortcut to clabbered/soured milk by adding 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of milk, let stand 5-10 minutes until the acid in the vinegar separates, or curdles the milk.  Use in the recipe as clabbered milk.  

 

Letting Go

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The Sky broke Crimson in the evening, with wisps of golden light illuminating the pasture.  Purple blooms glowed softly alongside brilliant gold, warm ivory, and a full spectrum of green played amongst the ground, whispering in the wind a gentle embrace rising up from the earth to cradle a tender heart.   I knelt close next to my beloved friend as I whispered a soft good-bye.  I caressed her neck one last time allowing the wave of emotion to wash over me.  It was just me and her, as it was most always, in the quiet, bathed in soft light, enveloped in the golden hour.  Quite fitting really, for saying good-bye to Coco, as we usually met this way.  In the morning light with dew glistening for milking, and at the day’s end when the light is lingering long and soft.

I understand deeply the cyclical journey of nature, and to partake of the journey at heart level is a gift.  The beginning as well as the ending of life is a sacred passage, privilege to few.  I am honored that Coco chose me to accompany her, to allow her what she needed to fulfill both her heart and mine in the process of letting go.

Letting go, is no such easy task, her of her time here, and me of my time with her.  It feels too soon, too raw, to open hands and release life.  Yet, we are left without a choice.  We have the opportunity to allow ourselves the openness of letting go, or we close fists and fight to hang on to whatever bits and scraps we can hang onto, closing ourselves off to the gift of releasing.

I choose to let go with love.

I choose to open my heart thankful for the joy and learning that we experienced together, Coco and I.  I am blessed and enriched, for the living, as well as the sacred embrace of letting go.  I am allowing myself to grieve the loss of a beautiful animal spirit, while also opening, awakening to the potential, the space in my heart made for the gifts to come.

 

Celebrate Summer

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Find Joy.

Take the less traveled road.

Seek Balance.

Breathe Deep.

Seize the Moment.

Eat Well, Be Well.

Play Outside.

Create.

Dive In.

Making Mojitos

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Happy August Everyone!

In celebration of being deep into summer, I thought I would share our favorite afternoon refreshment, Mojitos! (Non-alcoholic, of course). Nothing beats an icy glass of minty cold, slightly sweet, with a twist of lime to beat the heat.  This herbal limeade is cool and refreshing, getting you though the long, blustery, dog days of summer.

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Mixed by the glass or pitcher, it is faithfully ready to cool you down after the hottest of chores.  Mojitos can be made with either evaporated cane juice, or maple syrup, my new favorite.  Some people like to use a simple syrup, but I appreciate the no-prep method of either the evaporated cane juice, which gives a fun, slightly grainy texture to lick from lips, or the hint of maple.

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The kids like it sweetened both ways, and the muddling is their favorite part of the process.  It is simple to make and deeply refreshing.  Mojitos are best enjoyed in the porch rocker, dappled by shade, after a long, hot day in the sun.

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The Homestead Mojito

By the glass

Tall Jelly Jar, (12 oz), or Wide Mouth Pint Jar

1/2 lime

6-8 mint leaves

2-3 teaspoons or evaporated cane juice, or maple syrup

1 1/2 c. Ice cubes, or crushed ice

1 c. Club Soda, (or enough to top off the jar)*

To prepare lime:  Cut in half, quarter and cut into thin slices.  Put into bottom of jar.

Add 6-8  mint leaves, and sugar or maple syrup over top of limes.

Muddle with the wrong end of a large and sturdy wooden spoon to release the fragrant oils from both mint and lime, and to incorporate the sugars.  I usually let the kids do this part, because they love crushing up the lime, mint and sugar together.

Once well muddled, fill the jar all the way up with ice.

Pour club soda over top of all, give it a little stir, rub mint on the rim of the jar, and garnish with lime and an extra sprig of mint on top.

Find some shade to sip and enjoy!

*If you would like to make this an alcoholic drink, pour 1 1/2 oz. of white rum over ice, top with club soda.

The Art of Natural Cheese Making

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All Good cheese is wild and free.

~David Asher

Re-learning how to make cheese in my homestead kitchen has been an amazingly delicious adventure.  I love the above quote by David Asher from the beginning of his book, The Art of Natural Cheese Making, and even more so, I love that he wrote this book.  The Art of Natural Cheese Making is a restoration of knowledge and empowerment that brings a nearly lost art back into easy grasp for everyone.  As it says on the cover of the book, he uses traditional, non-industrial methods and raw ingredients to make the world’s best cheeses, and after trying just a few methods, I am quite sure he is right.

Amen.  Naturally made artisan cheese is divine.

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We have been making a beautiful keifer cheese, that is naturally fermented with keifer grains, then hung to drain the whey, lightly salted and hung again to dreamy perfection.  I make this cheese every other day.  The amazing thing is how easy it is to make, and tastes like heaven.

It is a creamy delight, it’s texture dependent upon how long you hang it, so it is completely up to your discretion where and when you want your cheese to be ready.  It has a mild tang, almost effervescent, thanks to the keifer cultures, and melts on your tongue in eye-rolling moments of bliss.

Yes, it is that good.

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The beauty of keifer cheese lies in it’s simplicity.  I am learning from David that making cheese is an art, not something that should be done in a laboratory, which is how my previous Cheesemaking processes felt.  Most modern Cheesemaking, even in the home, is based much more upon exact temperatures, measurements, laboratory engineered cultures, and precise control.  There is no freedom in the process, and no joy.  Only perhaps in the end when you have coagulated some milk into something that resembles a cheese from the grocery store.

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Every part of the traditional Cheesemaking process brings me joy.  I have made intimate friendships and partnerships in my homestead kitchen with the good bacteria in raw milk.  These are the kind of friends that you want to sit down and linger long over a good glass of wine with, you want to hang out with, you want to stay and be present with.  These good guys are more than good, they are amazing.  With minimal effort and perhaps even some beneficial magic, they transform beautifully unassuming raw milk into a whole other universe.  The world of dynamic, cultured cheese, that loves you more than you love it, from the inside out, of course.

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Keifer cheese contains no rennet, only pure and simple keifer cultures, as well as the naturally present cultures within your raw milk, making it vegetarian, as well as an out of this world addition to your daily repertoire of deeply nurturing food for body and soul.

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