Our family's journey to the heart of a handmade life

New Year Goals, and Oatmeal

New Year Goals, and Oatmeal
Hey y’all! (Oh, I wish I were Southern and could get away with saying that…) Well, it’s almost 2014, can you believe it? No one can, though it happens every year. It’s all “how quickly time flies” and “where did the year go?” Reminds me of Mainers complaining how cold and snowy it is every December. Umm, this is MAINE, people. Get over it. ūüôā
I don’t do resolutions. Resolutions are usually unrealistic and hardly ever achieved (like couch-potatoes vowing to start running every day and lose 20 pounds…it just ain’t gonna happen). I believe in goals- solid, attainable To-Dos for the following year. I have slowly chipped away at my Thirty Things to Do Before Thirty list, but seeing as I only have two years left, I am repeating some of those on my 2014 Goals.


  • Install lights in the chicken coops
  • Move worm farm to larger container to allow for expansion
  • Look into more solid fencing for chicken run
  • Try pressure canning
  • Begin grinding own grains
  • Learn how to ferment/sprout grains
  • Create a sustainable, realistic menu planning routine
  • Try out Cornish rocks for meat birds
  • Get published, even just in a local newsletter¬†
  • Get my driver’s license
  • Create and maintain a garden
  • Bake a successful souffle¬†
  • Make homemade, healthy-ish chocolate eclairs
  • Work on paying off debt



2013 was a wonderful year. My baby girl went from a little infant who had trouble sitting up unassisted to a bonafide toddler running around the house. My husband got so many promotions I lost track, and is now in the long overdue team lead position. Our livestock grew from 5 chickens to 22, then down to 19 (dang raccoon), from 1 coop to 2. Patrick practiced harvesting on our 3 test meat birds- it went both better and worse than expected. We delved further down the rabbit hole of whole foods, incorporating things into our diet such a probiotics, fermented cod liver oil, raw milk, and soaked grains. My very first niece was born in February, and should be walking any day now (!!!). This year I also spoke more to my father than I think I have my whole life; we have had our issues, but 2013 marked a true breakthrough in our relationship. We grew tomatoes and peppers without really trying, started a rhubarb plant and strawberry bush, and realized we have wild raspberries on our land.          
¬†Do you have any goals for 2014? Let me know in the comments below, or pop on over to my Facebook page and let’s chat!
Best Ever Oatmeal
Serves 2

I know, oatmeal is pretty darn basic. But I find that this particular combination of ingredients creates the perfect bowl of porridge, creamy but not mouth-coating, sweet but not cloying. 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup water
1 tablespoon milk kefir, yogurt, raw ACV, or lemon juice
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons coconut sugar, sucanat, or brown sugar
Pinch salt
Dashes cinnamon
The night before, combine the oats, water, and tablespoon of acidic liquid (note: the flavor may carry over, so be aware of that. Lemon could work nicely when paired with the Mabluappmeal recipe below). Stir until thoroughly mixed, cover, and set in a warm-ish location.

The next morning, stir in the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan set over medium-low heat. The temperature is important here- cooked too fast and your oats will still be a bit crunchy, too slow and your mush will be exceptionally, well, mushy.

Stir often, until the oatmeal does not immediately rush in to fill the spot left when you scrape the spoon across the bottom of the pan. We want the mixture to lose its immediate liquid-ness, but not be so dry as to become a clump. I hope that makes sense!

Remove from heat and serve as is, or top with the recipe below. Or something else, your call.
Maple Blueberry Apple Oatmeal
or Mabluappmeal
Serves 2
This isn’t so much a recipe as an idea, but it was too good not to share.
Maple syrup (preferably Grade B, which is more flavorful and nutritious)
2 Apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
Blueberries (preferably wild), about 2/3 cup
Unsalted butter
Sea saltPreheat a skillet over medium heat. I love my cast iron for all things fried or sauteed. Or maybe just for all things.

Add a tablespoon or so of butter. Once it melts and begins to bubble, add the apples and blueberries. Stir to coat. Let the fruits cook for…a while? Like I said, not much of a recipe. I sauteed the mixture until the apple juuustt slightly resisted a prod from a fork.

Now add in a couple good dashes of cinnamon and a glug of maple syrup, maybe one good swirl over the fruit. It should hiss a little as it hits the pan. This is good. That sound means caramelization, a cook’s favorite word.

Let it all bubble and simmer for a few minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Now sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and spoon atop your morning oatmeal.