Monday, May 28, 2012


I can't believe it's been three weeks since I've posted on here! My goal is to post something at least once a week, but the past three weeks have been crazy. If you read my Antiquity Oaks blog, you know what's been happening on the farm, but there was also a bit of author drama in the past month that I wrote about on my writer's blog.

The quick summary is that we've been having lots of babies (chicks, goats, lambs, and ducklings), predator problems (lost three chickens and a pregnant ewe), and terrible heat (upper 90s). On the author front, I was finishing up edits on my next book, which will be out this fall, and we received word that the title used a trademarked word, so there was much discussion, many emails, lawyers consulted, and finally a new title chosen, which meant a revised cover. So, Ecothrifty is now in the hands of the graphic designer that is turning the Word document into a book!

There is good news about Homegrown and Handmade though! It is going back to the presses for a second printing! And it is a finalist for the Book of the Year Award in the "home and garden" category, which is a huge honor and a wonderful surprise.

I'm also coordinating a homesteading conference for Joliet Junior College in Joliet, IL, on September 1, followed by a goat workshop the next day out on my farm. Click here for more details on the conference.

This next weekend, I'll be flying out to Seattle to speak at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup. I'll be talking about "Choosing Livestock For Your Homestead," "The Traditional Home Dairy," and "Why Homegrown and Handmade." I am also hoping to attend some sessions and tell you all about the interesting things I learn. If you are in the Pacific Northwest and are able to attend the fair, I hope you'll introduce yourself!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Green Festival: French bread

If you were at the Chicago Green Festival Sunday afternoon, welcome to my blog! {waving wildly} And if you weren't there, well, you still get to check out the French bread recipe that I demonstrated. This is a super easy bread and one of my favorites! For each baguette, you need the following ingredients:

1 cup warm water (bath temperature)
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups unbleached flour

 If you were at the Green Festival, you know that some of these instructions are merely suggestions -- you can bake bread with little or no salt (but it's going to taste different than what you're used to), and you know that if the water isn't quite warm, it will just take longer for the bread to rise. But bread happens! If you put water, yeast, and flour into the same bowl, mix a little, it's going to turn into something that resembles some kind of bread.

So, put the first three ingredients into a bowl, as well as two cups of flour. Once you get that mixed up as much as you can with a spoon, put down the spoon and dig in with both hands. As long as the dough sticks to your hands, add flour about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix it thoroughly, and if it still sticks, add another 1/4 cup. Once it's all mixed up, you can let it rise for a bit, or you can shape it into a baguette, let it rise for about half an hour, and bake it for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. For a crunchier crust, you can spritz it with water before baking, but it will still make a perfectly good baguette without spritzing.

Feel free to double or triple if you'd like more than one loaf. Happy baking!

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