Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Homemade Baking Powder

Have you ever found a can of baking powder hiding in the back of your cabinet and wondered if it was still good? There's a simple way to test if it's still got the lift your baked goods need.

Put a teaspoon of baking powder in a cup of hot water. If it bubbles, the baking powder still has what it takes to make those baked goods rise. If it doesn't bubble, it's time to make your own with only 2 ingredients. If you want it to make a bigger batchto keep on hand for the next time you're going to bake and have it last a while, then you will need 3 ingredients. 
To make your own baking powder: You will need 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar. I don't usually stock cream of tartar except when I'm making meringues, which is about once a year, so this is an ingredient you need to put on your grocery list. I usually have plenty of baking soda around for cleaning and other uses because it's so versatile. 
Mix the baking soda and cream of tartar together until combined. Then use it immediately. If you want to make a larger batch and store it for a period of time, it's recommended to add 1 teaspoon of corn starch with the other ingredients.
For that larger batch, the basic recipe is 1 part baking soda, 2 parts cream of tartar and 1 part corn starch. Corn starch is that handy ingredient that absorbs moisture so it's been known to be used on baby butts and sweaty feet, but it also works great preserving the active agents in your homemade baking powder. 
Since I don't like any ingredients in my food that might be unhealthy, making your own baking powder gives you the added confidence that there isn't any aluminum in it, which is a common ingredient in baking powder. 
Bake on!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Homestead Today

I thought I'd give you a little peek into what the homestead looks like today. The only reason I call it a "homestead" is because I harbor a secret desire to run away from all of the crowds, lines, traffic, pollution, and crabby neighbors, but in reality I'd probably be very lonely. I like the proximity to cultural activities, Museums, the beach and family so I'm staying where I am for now. Meanwhile, I've taken the opportunity to live as healthy a lifestyle as I can. Healthy means a sustainable, low carbon footprint, pesticide and herbicide-free lifestyle. Natural, homemade products, even if they require more work are a priority. Despite what the press has to say on the topic, I'm a firm believer that organic is the only way to eat. That means I live on a 1/4 acre of expensive land that I "farm" on.

My biggest challenges are three of my suburban neighbors so you might read me venting baout them every now and then, but I will try to keep that to a minimum. They don't like my lifestyle and take every chance they can to call the town officials to complain about me. I don't mind the town officials because I make a point of following the rules.

So after that introduction this is what the homestead looks like today. Here's the animal count:
9 hens
1 Rooster
7 eggs in the incubator
6 Cayguga ducks (will hatch some of those eggs after the chicken eggs)
2 cats
1 Angora rabbit
4 bee hives
1 large vermicompost bin

I'll update you on the garden projects soon. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


This is the official launch of a new blog. The title of the last blog didn't really represent how it had changed over time. So now I'm going to document my beekeeping, chicken keeping, gardening activities and any other bright, shiny, new thing that fascinates me and takes me off in a new direction. There's so much to see, experience and learn out there that makes life so much fun.
Today, I've got 7 chicken eggs in a Brinsea incubator sitting on a nearby countertop. An adorable, angora rabbit rearranging the furniture in her cage next to me. And a pile of potatoes on the kitchen counter ready for planting tomorrow. I almost forgot, I've got 2 packets of pea seeds soaking overnight so I can pop them in the ground tomorrow. It's growing season. My favorite time of the year.
What better way to start the beginning of Spring than to do it with a new, aptly named blog?
Please join in on the ride. I know I will need lots of input along the way.