Jul 24, 2012

Adventures in Farming

This week I embarked on a rather unusual adventure: chicken farming. Five years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of me having chickens. Now, here I am four chickens later. It all started with a friend who raises chickens. She showed me how it's done and sort of took the mystery out of the whole thing. 

 One of the baby chicks
Editor's note: *squeal*....they're SUPER cute!

My husband had wanted to get chickens years ago, but I wasn't into the idea yet. Now that we have the space and live in a more rural, farm-friendly area, starting our chicken farm became a reality. 

Here's our coop, which still needs a fence around it. 

There seems to be a lot of pressure these days to buy cage free, vegetarian, organic, soy-free fed (etc, etc) chicken eggs. I was recently at a farmers market and found farm-fresh eggs for the bargain price of $9/dozen. All I can say is OMG. I didn't splurge for eggs that day, but it did remind me of the growing social pressure to buy specialty foods that are perceived to be healthier than conventional. That same day, I went to our local supermarket and bought a dozen eggs for about $2. That's better.

There are definitely arguments for choosing to buy organic or vegetarian or non-GMO, etc. So if you lean toward those food purchases, more power to you. The reality is that these foods simply don't fit into everybody's budget and the verdict is still out on whether these items actually deliver the health promises some people, websites, etc, claim they have. 

Personally, I'm convinced current research shows that - at least nutritionally speaking - an egg is an egg is an egg (Note that it's always important to cook eggs thoroughly to avoid possible food poisoning from Salmonella). In general, all eggs are great sources of protein and essential vitamins, and support a healthy body.

Yes, eggs have cholesterol. But - good news - we now know that the cholesterol in eggs doesn't necessarily raise your blood cholesterol. Rather, the total fat, saturated fat and trans fat levels in your diet as well as genetics appear to be more influential in determining cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association used to recommend limiting eggs to one yolk per week for those who have high cholesterol, but in light of current research, they've dropped that recommendation. Instead, they now recommend to eat foods low in total fat, saturated fat and trans fat (and eggs are low in all three!). 

For more information on the health benefits of eating eggs, click here. 

Do you have any experience with chicken farming? If so, please share your experience and advice!

Jul 17, 2012

Tea Time and Twenty-Nine

Last week I celebrated my twenty-ninth birthday. I'll be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to it. The whole "last year of my twenties" thing really weirds me out. But I decided nonetheless to have a party... not just any party, a tea party. I'm convinced the enormous amount of estrogen running through my pregnant body is to blame for the girly-party theme. Well, that and my current TV obsession, Downton Abbey. If you haven't, you must try it.

It's a strange feeling saying almost-goodbye to a decade I had so looked forward to as a child. I remember daydreaming about all the things I had to look forward to in my twenties: college, friends, dating, career, the man I would marry, the kids I would have.

I think I crossed most things off my unofficial twenties "to-do" list, but the way it all unfolded was much different than I had pictured; in a few words, much less perfect and much more work. Ha! How's that for irony? But I certainly enjoyed myself and managed to learned a few things along the way.

1. Find something you love. Go do it. 
My dad always has useful things to say, and this was one of the best. I can remember him telling me as a child to "find something I love and go do it". Sports, academics, craft or hobbies, to him it didn't matter so much what you did, but that you had something you loved doing. 

Dad also sent me flowers for my birthday. How sweet.

2. Trust.
As a Christian, "trusting in God" is the foundation of my faith. But looking back at a decade (how I met my husband, the many places we've lived, our son, our friends, our church), I realize how remarkably sovereign God is in life and how much more I wish I would have trusted his plan instead of worry. I worry too much.

3. Build relationships.
Life sometimes feels so busy that it's hard to make time for all the people who are lovely in my life. Even though it takes effort, I seldom remember regretting making the call, sending the letter, and spending the time - regardless of that heaping pile of laundry.

4. Enjoy. this. moment.
A decade has certainly taught me how quickly time goes by. Wasn't I just in college? Nope. That was 10 years ago. And didn't I just have a baby? Not really, that was 2 1/2 years ago. So even though the day-to-day can seem monotonous and unmeaningful, it is the stuff of life and from that, memories are made.

Image from: http://miasinterior.no/index.php?nr=90&case=4&id=414&idkategori=141&kat_name=&prod_name=Metallskilt,%20Moment&startrow=
I wish I could say I had a grand plan for my thirties; a blueprint for success and happiness. Not so much. This time, I'm planning on taking my own advice: doing what I love, trusting in God's plan, investing in relationships and trying to enjoy every moment. 

Life is totally a collaborative effort, right? Share with us what you've learned along the way.

Jul 9, 2012

Coconut-Cranberry Lara Bars

Two words: Lara Bars! I kind of love them but always feel guilty spending two bucks on an energy bar. Thankfully, these healthy treats require very few ingredients and even less skill to make. Plus, one homemade bar will run you about 0.25 cents. Triple score! All you need is a food processor and about four ingredients. Let's get started, shall we?

There are a ton of yummy looking Lara Bar recipes online: "snickers", peanut butter and jam, blueberry muffin. I really like this basic recipe that explains how to make a Lara Bar using ingredients of your choice. 

So today, my choices were almonds, dried cranberries and shredded coconut because that's what Pregnant Belly told me to make. Sometimes, you just have to follow your instinct.


1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil


Mix all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency is achieved (kind of sticky and holds together). Once done mixing, wrap individually in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Or you can spread the mixture in a baking dish and cut into individual servings. After, place in refrigerator to cool.

My toddler assistant, Will, helped me make these. Once the prep work was done, he was kind enough to lick the spoon completely clean. That's always a good sign. 

Let me know what yummy creations YOU come up with!