Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Simple Pleasures or Abundant Living

Two days ago the trees were bare.  Yesterday green leaves appeared all over the neighborhood!  Redbuds seem quite proud of themselves.  Perhaps they think they are pretty spectacular.  Fact is, they are!  On Saturday the wisteria was covered in clusters of almost ready to explode blossoms.  When I got up and went out to the backyard Sunday morning, I noticed bare wisteria branches.  Nibbled bare, by deer, I presume.


Blackie and Brownie are now on nighttime patrol, since we have begun to plant our garden. We live kitty-cornered to the golf course, which supports a herd of 25-40 deer.

I think the dogs probably feel proud to be called back into service after leading a pretty cush evening life, sleeping on pillows on my bedroom floor.  If the deer thought the wisteria blossoms were tasty, who knows what they might think of the new garden!

A very long day in the bakery left me feeling pooped this evening.  I guess all the springtime springing made me feel creative.  Along with the other goodies, I made some freshly milled whole grain Mile High Biscuits.  Using the same Southern Living recipe I used to make back in college days, but now instead of white flour I use a combination of hard white wheat berries and spelt berries, milled.  And coconut oil instead of crisco.  And sucanat instead of sugar.  And raw milk instead of the other stuff.

They are still yummy!  Even better tasting, in my opinion.  Light.  Tender.  And especially good if you can grab some butter and apricot preserves when they come out of the oven.

I roll out the biscuit dough, cut the rounds with a half pint mason jar, and then freeze the raw biscuits, ready to put into a hot oven for a fast food breakfast that makes my children and customers smile.  I sold several batches and put the rest in the freezer for future deliciousness.

I also made spelt tortillas.  Another staple I used to make regularly in my college years once I moved out into my own apartment.  Except back in the day, it was white flour and crisco.  Coconut oil works beautifully in my tortilla recipe.  So does spelt.  The hard white wheat is a bit more family friendly, and very tasty.

After all the bread and cookies and biscuits and tortillas and brownie mixes and granola, kids trickled in from track practice.  This year Maggie and Patrick and Rose are all in track.  And Maggie and Patrick are mentoring the kids in Special Olympics.  I am proud of them for being so proud of their big brother Thomas last year when he ran in Special Olympics that they would share the love with other special kids in their school.  That said, they come home late and hungry and eat  a dozen cookies in a few seconds, and consume close to a dozen cold biscuits.  Then it is time to think about supper.  I was going to cook some chicken, but Maggie is going to a baseball game with friends and Patrick has homework and I have bakery dishes to do (so why I am writing in this blog???).  We nixed the chicken and sliced a loaf of spelt Milk and Honey bread, grabbed some mayo, sliced roast beef, sliced tomatoes, pickles, a sliced jalapeno, and piles of raw spinach from our farmer's market haul.  We declared that never was there a better sandwich crafted.

Patrick was not so fond of the jalapenos, so I ate his.  But Maggie and I liked the mild burn.

Hunger is a wonderful thing when you have good things at hand to help satisfy the pains.  We are so blessed with the abundance of delicious, nutritious options here in our home.  I realize that if I did  not have this bakery we would not be able to eat as well.  If we didn't have money and bread and cookies to barter for veggies and milk we would not eat as well.

I am grateful for the many hands that helped make our supper possible.  And I hurt for the many men and women and children who will go to bed hungry this evening.  Please God, show us and the other folks out there who are able how we can share this bounty wisely so we can all be nourished, satisfied, grateful at table, even when it is as simple as a sandwich.

PS Here is a very sketchy version of my Mile High Biscuits.  I bet if you googled it, you could get a much more detailed version from Southern Living.  These biscuits are slightly sweet.  Amazing with butter and jam. If you want to make sausage and gravy biscuits, I would nix the sucanat or decrease it by more than half.

Patrick usually makes these biscuits and does an amazing job.  But his junior year of highschool keeps him much busier than back in the old days on the farm.

Mile High Biscuits

3 cups freshly milled whole wheat flour, a bit more if you use spelt
1/4 c. sucanat
1 1/2 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (yes, it really does make a difference if you leave this out)
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. coconut oil (back when we raised our own pastured pork, on organic grass and chemical free grains we made our own lard.  It made the best biscuits.  I could not recommend store bought lard. Butter works, but makes a completely different texture.  Liquid oil doesn't work at all, at least if you are from my part of the country and expect a particular crumb.)
1 egg
1 1/4c milk

Mix dry ingredients.  Cut in coconut oil, rub it in to the flour.  Beat egg and milk  together and mix with dry ingredients.  knead dough briefly until it comes together.  Let it rest for a few minutes.  Roll the dough out on a floured surface to just under a half an inch or so.  I like these pretty thick (Mile High Biscuits, right?)  Cut into rounds.  Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake in preheated 475 degree oven until golden brown.  OR double the recipe, bake half and place half the biscuits on freezer paper or a baking sheet, freeze then transfer the biscuits to a Ziploc bag.  You can take the frozen biscuits out of the freezer, place on baking sheet and place right in a hot oven.  They take a couple of minutes longer than if they were fresh.  Perfect for Sunday morning breakfast, or tea time!  


Chris said...

We do live abundantly. My generous veggie garden provides enough organic food that I can afford to spend a little money on organic dairy, grain and a little organic meat. Would we were all so blessed. Kudos to your kids for sharing the love. I made your biscuit recipe with spelt, coconut oil and a little sugar. They were delicious!!! and very high!!!

gingerhillery@mac.com said...

Hi Chris! Glad you enjoyed the biscuits. It always makes me happy to see someone enjoy our recipes.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Well this is weird. For some crazy reason I was having a craving for coconut oil. I do not know why. I've never even had coconut oil before! The other day I stumbled upon a health food store and took a chance and spent twelve dollars on a 15 oz. jar of organic coconut oil. (Talk about expensive ingredients!) Now I don't know what to do with it. I guess I will have to make those biscuits! What is sucanat?