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down by the hearth…

Update coming soon!

Posted by: hammock gal on September 20th, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  >>> BlogStuff

Wow, I went to make a reply to someone on Twitter, knowing that it has been a while since I’ve posted, just didn’t realize how long exactly it had been. Pretty scary stuff, almost four months! Yikes!

So, for those that actually still read (thanks Mom!), I’ll be posting an update soon, promise. By Monday.


You can quit laughing now!


July Already?! Almost.

Posted by: hammock gal on June 24th, 2011 at 3:55 am

  >>> Journey, Weather

Time sure does fly a whole lot quicker the older I get. It is almost July already!

Hurricane season started back on June 1st, we have had a gazillion birthdays this month, okay, maybe just 12, but still, including Momma, whose birthday is still coming up (along with my cousin ‘Uncle Sean’, his is the same day as my mom). She will be turning 75 this year, and we are so thankful and grateful that she is still with us. Most of the time. ;o) We have had some yucky viral infections already, plus some really bad luck with vehicles. Two, count them, two vehicles needing new batteries, at the same time, as well as flat tires. Geesh!

We are trying to get my grandfather’s house ready to go up for sale in Miami, so have been trying to deal with that, as well as we are selling our commercial property in Miami. Know anyone who wants to purchase a convenience store in prime location? :D

And what is up with this weather. Jeminy christmas it has been major hot and it only just turned officially summer. I do not want to think about what August and September are going to be like, which are usually our hottest times. According to the Climate Prediction Center our temperatures will continue to be above normal, from the looks of it, all southern states will continue to be above normal. Some good news though coming our way, per the CDC Climate Weather Linkage El Niño Southern Oscillation Weekly Presentation, we are transitioning out of La Niña conditions into ENSO-neutral condtions.

Climate Prediction Center 3-month Temperature Outlook Graphic

- temperature outlook & probabilities -

Now on to other stuff. There are a lot of food bloggers that are going to this conference or that, while I wish I could go, not real feasible since I am my mother’s caretaker. Although she would nix that in a heart beat if she ever knew. So, for now, I live vicariously through others, watching their tweets as they talk about what they have learned, as well as their blog recaps. Not quite the same, but I am learning all the same, which makes me happy since I am a perpetual student. :o)

I have learned some others things too, one being that I love to bake things for family and friends, more than I truly knew, another is that I will never be a gourmet chef or cook. Once in a while is great and I do love learning new ways, but I am just a simple girl with simple tastes. I do know that I do not like caviar, but I enjoy oysters. Put steamed asparagus in front of me and I am a happy camper, likewise, make it livers or snails and I will back-peddle to get away. ;o) I like keeping some family traditions, while others I could do without. I love having game night and would rather do that than ever have the television on. I am just as likely to eat frozen key lime pie before I would eat crème brûlée, yet I make delicious coq au vin.

I think that is enough… just my random thoughts.

Oh, and Happy Anniversary Daddy and Momma! Is that too weird, to say that, even though my Dad is no longer with us? It would be 55 years of marriage today. You know, weird or not, I do not care. ;o)

Go and smile, say hello to someone new, or ask how someone’s day is going and actually want to know the answer. Kindness is contagious, a smile is worth a thousand words and laughter can heal so many ailments.

Wordless Wednesday » 2011 June 15

Posted by: hammock gal on June 15th, 2011 at 5:34 am

  >>> Journey, Flora, Images, Wordless

Wordless Wednesday - black and white high key image of roses.

Grinding Wheat

Posted by: hammock gal on May 27th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

  >>> Food Storage, Pantry, Preparedness

Wheat berries being scooped up with a measuring cup.

- wheat berries -

First, let me say this was actually a hard post for me to write. I know, I know, how hard can it be to write about grinding wheat. It is. For me at least, because I want to explain the why, which is harder than it seems. So, please bear with me, I tried to keep my thoughts semi-coherent, but knowing myself, they are scattered in no apparent order. If there is something more that you would like to know, please ask and I will do my best to answer.

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to grind there own wheat. For my family, one of our reasons was very simple, we wanted to use (and store) nutritional foods that would keep even if their were no power. Why? That is also simple, we live in hurricane country. Okay, that really doesn’t exist, but ask any Floridian who has lived through an actual hurricane, or two, or three, or more, Florida is hurricane country. There are other reasons, but that is not what this is about.

When you purchase already ground flour, unless you watch them milling it, bagging it up and carrying it home, you really have no idea of when it was milled, nor how long it has actually sat either in a warehouse or on the store shelves. And don’t forget, if you are buying whole wheat flour then you have to either store it in the refrigerator or the freezer because it will go rancid.

Wheat berries dropping into an electric grain grinder to make flour.

- grinding wheat into flour -

When I tell people that, their first question is always, why? Their white flour sits on the shelves just fine, so why not whole wheat. Well, it has to do with the milling process. White flour (bleached or unbleached) in the milling process has the germ and the bran taken out of the flour. These things, once ground, will go rancid quicker, just like most nuts, because of the natural oils within. Why do you want them in the first place? They are good for you. Don’t believe me, have you heard doctors say, you need more fiber, you need more bran, you need wheat germ. Obviously if you have health issues, then do what you are supposed to, but for those that have no problems with wheat or gluten, your best bet is whole wheat to start with.

I won’t go into why they are good for you, there are many sources online, your doctor, at the library and more. It really is fascinating once you learn more about it.

When you grind your own wheat, you know exactly what is in the flour. There are no additives, no preservatives and if you purchase certified chemical free or organic, then you know, no chemicals are in it either. You also know that it is going to be full of flavor, not stale tasting and that all nutrients are in there, not just some that are added back.

Let’s get back to storage though. White flour, because of all the nutritional stuff that has been taken out, stores longer than whole wheat flour. We’ve already said that. Did you know though that even white flour cannot be stored as long as a wheat berry? What is that? That happens to be the wheat grain or wheat kernel. It is made, naturally, to be stored, and used with all nutrients intact. If stored properly, wheat berries can be used with full nutrients, even after 20 years! (You can even grow your own wheat sprouts from it, as well as grow your own wheat from it! You cannot do that with purchased flour, no matter how hard you try.)

This post isn’t about food storage, suffice it to say, you should have some stored.

Rolled oats and oat flour spilled out onto table cloth.

- rolled oats and oat flour -

We are told by Wheat Foods Council that nutritionally there is no difference between grinding your own and purchasing whole wheat flour. I honestly do not know. I just look at it this way, why pay for something that I can easily and quickly do much cheaper and I don’t have to worry about it going bad. Honestly, they may say that the two are nutritionally equal, I just cannot imagine something that has been ground and sat around not losing some nutrients. That is just laws of nature. Not here to debate that though.

Let’s just face it though, there is something primal about being able to take a grain, grind it, mix it, bake it and give something nutritious and wholesome to your family. I also have to say, that it just tastes so darn good!

You can also grind other grains into flour, we actually mix it up sometimes, using barley, oats, millet, flaxseed and more. You can even grind rice and popping corn!

Wheat, rolled oats, rice, pearled barley and popping corn, as well as their flours.

- in order, starting from the bottom -
grains and their flours
hard white winter wheat, long grain white rice, popping corn, rolled oats, pearled barley

There are different grinders to be found: hand, electric and combination of both. Depending on what you are grinding as well as your hand & arm strength, will decide which type of grinder you need for yourself. For our family we actually have both an electric grinder (see “What I Use!” at the bottom of sidebar) and a hand grinder, for when power is out. I think you can figure out on your own which one I prefer to use. ;o)

There is so much more that could be said, yet, it all boils down to one thing, you have to do what is best for your family and yourself.

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