Since we no longer raise chickens (for now), I have been reluctant to purchase eggs from the grocery store, even organic ones. Instead I have been cutting back our egg consumption until we can keep laying hens again, which can beget some adjustments when it comes to baking.
I’ve tried a variety of vegan brownie recipes. Many times the texture turns out not agreeable (I can be picky about texture). Often the product ends up resembling chocolate cake. Brownies should NOT have a cake-like consistency. Finally, I found THE recipe (because we all need a great brownie recipe in our life). I’ve slightly adapted it from Joanna Vaught’s All-Time Very Best Vegan Brownie Recipe (and it is).
: : Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour and baking soda in a large bowl. In another bowl combine the ground flax seed and 1/4 cup water (NOT the hot water). In a third bowl combine the cocoa powder, chocolate chips/chunks, salt, and boiling water. Mix until the chocolate melts and makes a paste. Add the flax mixture, sugar, Earth Balance, vanilla, oil and combine. Add the wet mixture to the flour and baking soda and mix gently. Fold in the walnuts. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the center is done. Remove from oven and cool. Enjoy!
I almost always forget to take pictures after I make a recipe. But it really doesn’t need a picture, it just needs to be tasted…
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Cora is happiest while feeding “her” chickens and checking for eggs. She loves to collect greens from the garden to nourish her hens, and distribute their feed for them with daddy. I love that she is learning where her food comes from (eggs are one of her favorite meals), and enjoys caring for her flock. Hopefully we will one day be able to increase our family of fowl to keep up with our garden fertilizing and egg needs!
I managed to make a little progress on our garden plans for this year. The root vegetables remaining from last year were pulled, and a large pot of vegetable stock is cooking on the stovetop. Only a few beets remain in the ground. I planted some onions, arugula, lettuce, and herbs. This weekend I hope to get our 4th generation of potatoes in the dirt that our chickens so thoughtfully scratched and fertilized for us (the eggs are just a bonus).
Indoors I started some tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, okra, watermelon, zucchini, basil (I am sure I am leaving something out). I am still quite new to gardening on my own. This whole process is a constant learning experience. Lets hope we at least get some edible bits from the garden this year!
The first few weeks of hen residency brought unexpected challenges and anguish. The evening after we brought home our three ladies we had a break-in. A neighborhood dog decided to test out the strength of the fenced area connected to the hen house. Brian was gone and I did not hear any commotion. We ended up losing our Chocolate Maran. I was so looking forward to lovely chocolate-colored eggs! The Rhode Island Red (Big Mama) was missing as well, but when we saw her pecking around the coop the next morning, we rejoiced! After a little coaxing and my husband’s amazing patience, she was retrieved and returned to the reinforced chicken complex.
We had dogs to worry about now. I didn’t want them to become comfortable with trespassing on our property and slaughtering our poultry for a snack. By the next visitation from our canine thieves, I was prepared (as prepared as a mama can be with a two year old and a newborn to care for). I was wearing Audrey in a baby carrier when I noticed the two predators checking out the chickens. I quickly grabbed a walking stick and rushed outdoors. I knew these dogs were not people aggressive, so I did not have reservations about chasing them off and showing them that I was the pack leader around here – ready to protect all within my care. I found that the water hose worked better than a stick. Thus it was that I spent the next few days (until I got my message across). Cora watched from the window as her crazy mama headed outside, armed with spraying water and transporting a baby still secured in her carrier. Eventually they gave up attempting to snag another hen, and our egg-producers could scratch, peck and lay in peace.
Unfortunately, the chicken coop was not finished until fall. This meant that we only received two eggs before the girls decided to take their winter break. We had added two layers to the flock – a Barred Rock and Campine. By January we started finding an egg or two every other day, and in February it jumped to about a dozen a week. Each egg I bring into the kitchen makes all the experiences in the beginning worth it!