An introduction to grinding grain for flour

Baking bread when I was growing up meant first slipping down to the basement larder and grinding the grain. The machine was absolutely deafening, but I loved the smell of freshly milled flour and the way it floated down to form miniature snowy mountains in my bucket.

My mother still grinds her own grains and regales me with tales of her kamut lasagna noodles and soft wheat pizza dough; as always, she’s years ahead of the current whole foods movement. I had quite a few tools and appliances that I needed to invest in when I set up my own kitchen and a grain mill was low in the list. It was there, though, for my ‘someday’.

Naturally I was very excited last fall when KitchenAid Canada provided me with a grain mill attachment to go with my beloved 7-quart stand mixer. It’s funny, I feel as though I have both traveled back in time to to that flour dusted larder floor and taken a step ahead into another level of baking with whole, unprocessed ingredients in my kitchen.

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Preserved Lemon Quinoa with Shaved Brussels, Toasted Walnuts

So we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year, which is the time everyone resolves to eat better, get fit, improve their relationships and financial situations, and find an occupation with purpose.

Not one for resolutions myself, I am fond of the clean slate idea. A new year for a more intentional way of living. For me, while I do well feeding my family and friends – I even named my own website to that end – I find it more difficult to take care of myself.

I am more than capable of packing up four separate lunches for the kids and sending them out the door, but when it comes to tearing myself away from work and my to-do list at lunchtime, I am prone to simple snacking or skipping it altogether. It’s almost as if I associate the care and feeding of myself as a social activity best done with others.
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9 Foods to Stock in Your Pantry

Every January, my pantry inevitably needs an in-depth examination. So I clear out the remnants of holiday foodstuffs that have collected – candy canes, cracker fragments, sprinkles and other cookie decorations – and take a good look at what is left.

A lot of my homemade jam and preserves have been given away as gifts; my stash of nuts, dried fruit and olives has dwindled (as it should over the entertaining season), and there is plenty of space for starting over.

With my intentional food-related goals for the new year at the forefront of my planning, I sit down to write a list of staples I need to stock. I take notice of low granola supplies, the absence of canned beans, and other clues that point to my need for a grocery haul.

The result is a list of basic staples that I think anyone striving to serve wholesome family food should stockpile and I’m sharing it here with you today.

If you’re serious about maintaining a diet of nourishing foods, one of the best things you can do is stock your pantry with quality ingredients. You’ll be inspired to try new recipes – and have the resources to follow through with them – and more inclined to steer clear of prepackaged and processed foods.

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Salute Spring! Artichokes 101 {Recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Artichokes}

Join us as we Salute Spring with a week-long series featuring the finest fruits and vegetables of the season. Written by Shaina of Food for my Family.

A few years ago I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that the jars of artichokes I was purchasing at the store just weren’t fulfilling my true love and desire for them. I loaded up our cart with the round globes and headed home, completely unsure of what to do and with my husband doubting every step I took towards my artichoke creation.

The man who grew up on a meat-and-potatoes diet in a small Midwestern town had unpleasant experiences with so-called “odd” foods in his childhood and was not opposed to eating them, but wholly opposed to having someone unskilled preparing them for fear of ruining the meal.

However, I did not let his nay-saying stop me. I pressed forward, blanching and then grilling my precious green flowers and serving them up alongside a homemade aioli. I showed the kids how to peel off the petals and scrape them with your teeth and then waited, saying nothing more.
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Berry Granola Bars

DIY Granola Bars

One of the hardest things for a mother to do is to get out of the front door. There is so much to juggle – Are the kids dressed? Teeth brushed? Shoes and socks on? Do you have all the pertinent papers, backpacks, sack lunches, and money? Do you have the car keys, sunglasses, and cell phone? And, by the way, did you remember to change out of your pajamas?

Remembering all that plus getting a nutritious breakfast in everyone can be overwhelming. But don’t be discouraged. There are strategies for feeding your family that don’t involve a drive-through window. One of them is to plan ahead and make some food bars.

They can be eaten one-handed while running a comb through a child’s hair, signing a permission slip, or while waiting at a stop light. Unlike the one-handed breakfast from the drive-through, these granola bars have lots of anitioxidants, whole grain goodness,  no processed sweeteners and a lot less fat. [Read more…]