Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vintage School Desk Makeover

We found this old school desk at the town dump in the free pile. It looked sturdy enough, and I have been looking for a table or desk for my boys to use for reading and coloring in the living room so we took it home. With a little love I knew this desk would be a perfect fit. All that was needed was for it to be cleaned and painted. I took the desk apart and spray painted the pieces individually with blue, silver and ivory paint before screwing them back together.  It was a simple enough project and since the desk opens the boys now  have a place to keep their crayons and coloring books.

The desk is more of a jungle gym for our little one but soon enough he will sit still long enough to use it.  Our oldest is excited for his first year of school and this desk will also give him a good place for homework. Fingers crossed that he maintains this excitement through college :)

If you have any DIY makeover transformations of your own please leave a link with a comment and I will check it out!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Perfect Eggless Waffle Recipe

Although we raise chickens to lay delicious free range eggs for us our oldest has an egg (and peanut) allergy and has to miss out. Usually it is not a problem to avoid giving him anything with eggs until it comes to baking and breakfast. I like to make things from scratch and continually search for recipes that are free of eggs, and  sometimes they are great while other times not so much. It is hard to find recipes that taste good AND hold together. I have had many birthday cakes fall apart with eggless cake recipes. 

Here is a particularly good waffle recipe we tried over the weekend that I altered and wanted to share:

Perfect Eggless Waffles:

  • 2 cups flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tbs melted butter
  • 2 cups milk

First mix together all of the dry ingredients then add your milk and melted butter. Mix it all together keeping it slightly lumpy and pour it into your waffle iron. 

These waffles turned out great and the boys loved them so I will say it's a keeper! If you have any eggless recipes that your little ones love please share them I am always looking for more.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

DIY Reclaimed Pallet Wood Flag

My first attempt at patriotic pallet art

I have been meaning to make use out of an old pallet we had for quite a while now originally planning it to be a landscape piece, but with the 4th of July I guess my patriotism got the best of me and I decided to make an American flag instead and I LOVE it! This piece will be hanging in our home all year round. This was a fairy simple project the hardest part was removing the planks from the panels and getting the little one to nap so I had a chance to paint it :)

All I did was use a hammer to carefully pry the planks from the pallet. The pallet was pretty old so most of the nails pulled through which made things a bit easier. After I had the planks removed I lined them up and nailed two pieces of wood that were once a part of our old windows to the back to act as a brace.

I already liked the natural look of the piece after I nailed it together...I see many future pallet projects ahead...

I used a water based acrylic paint for the project and layered the paint on rather loosely. Since I knew it was going to be distressed anyway I wasn't too careful painting, and I wanted the rustic folk look.

To add my stars I simply cut a star shape out of card stock and sprayed through the stencil with a white flat spray paint. (I like Rust-Oleum for most of my projects) The real fun is distressing it that is when the piece always gains it's character. I used a file and sandpaper to give it the rustic finish.After a little elbow grease my piece was ready to hang. I added wire to the back securing it with screws and heavy duty frame hanger. My flag should be good to go for this 4th of July and many others.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

French Countryside Coq au vin

Previously we were the caretakers of two roosters here at Crooked Coop Farm, one pleasant rooster, and one mean, aggressive, and rather scary rooster. The later had to go. 

Our mean rooster named "Roosty" and then renamed by our oldest as "Big ol' fat Belly" was a Red Ranger from our first flock of chickens. He was scheduled to be butchered last year but we decided to keep him as a guard rooster for the rest of the flock. Unfortunately he wasn't just  guarding the birds  against predators he was protecting them from our family when we went back to the coop as well  creating a not so delightful situation. The older he became the more aggressive he became and once Big ol' Fat Belly began to be aggressive with our boys it was time for him to go. There are other options to take when one has an aggressive rooster but seeing that he was eye level with our youngest we thought the best option would be for him to get butchered. 

What do you do once the big rooster is gone?

My husband is a chef by trade so he likes to make the most out of any dining opportunity, and this means Roosty became coq au vin. Coq au vin is a traditional french countryside dish that translates to cockerel in red wine. It is a complicated recipe that calls for an old rooster (which gives it a better sauce). If you are up for the challenge of making this dish it is well worth it. 

Here is my husband's recipe:

You will need:
  • 1 Big Ol' Fat Belly cut into eighths (ours weighed 6 lbs. 10 oz dressed)
  • 1.5 L Pinot Noir
  • 1 lb mushrooms halved
  • approximately 15 shallots peeled and quartered (preferably you would want to have pearl onions rather than shallots but our store was out so he substituted)
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and flattened
  • 1/2 pound bacon diced
  • 1 Bouquet Garni (two bay leaved, a few sprigs of parsley and a few sprigs of thyme)
  • a few sprigs of savory
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 1/2 T sugar
  • flour
  • 4 T butter

  • Marinade Roosty in Pinot Noir overnight. 
  • In a large dutch oven (he used cast iron) render bacon until crisp
  • Remove bacon and set aside
  • Take rooster pieces out of marinade, pat dry then brown off in pot
  • once all pieces are browned set aside
  • add mushrooms and cook until browned
  • add butter if necessary and when browned set mushrooms aside
  • add shallots and cook until browned
  • return bacon, mushrooms, rooster to the pot
  • add your bouquet garni and savory
  • add salt and paper to taste
  • add your sugar
  • add wine marinade to the pot and bring to a boil
  • once boiling reduce heat and cover for about 3 hours or until tender
  • Remove rooster mushrooms and shallots from pot and keep warm
  • skim away any fat from top of broth
  • make a roux in a separate pan and add a little to the pot at a time
  • then cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes)
  • return mushrooms, shallots and rooster once again to pot and cook until hot.

Serve one piece over mashed potatoes with sauce from your pot. 

Enjoy! If you have any experience with this dish or others that call for a rooster please share them with us!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Pizza Dinner

From our backyard to our plate:
Summer Pizza Dinner

I don't think I am the only mom around who has a hard time getting her little ones to eat their veggies. I try to make exciting menus for the kids and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't and when I find a good one I like to share it. Here is a pizza dinner that partially came from our garden that the kiddos loved. 

I had some Italian bread left from a previous dinner that I sliced thin and topped with a homemade pizza sauce. Since we began canning I always make my own sauce it doesn't take long and it always tastes great. 

To make it I:
  • take a small can of tomato paste and mix it with a can of water over medium heat.
  • add a tablespoon or two of sugar to lighten the acidity.
  • let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • to season I use fresh basil and oregano from the garden a pinch or two of salt and a few shakes of granulated garlic. I like a lot of basil so I am usually heavy with it but make it to your taste not mine.

My pizza is them topped with
  • my sauce
  • mozzarella
  • fresh tomato preferably from the garden
  • spinach again from the garden if available
  • and a dash more mozzarella
I bake it at 400 for 12-15 min on a slightly greased pizza pan, and I garnished it with asparagus from the asparagus patch in back that has been sauteed in butter with a pinch of salt and pepper.The pizza was easier to get them to eat than the asparagus but I thought it tasted great.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome to Crooked Coop Farm!

Welcome to the blog of Crooked Coop Farm! The photo to the left is our Crooked Coop the home to our own family of egg laying chickens and the occasional nosey sheep. The coop itself is crooked giving us our name "Crooked Coop Farm". 

My husband Chris and I (Anna) moved to a rural area of Southeastern Wisconsin in 2012 with dreams of a self reliant lifestyle. Since our move we have learned how to raise and butcher our own animals, grow organic vegetables and can our harvest. We have many more plans in our future and would like to share our adventure with you.

We also are on the hunt for knowledge and encourage our readers to leave comments and links sharing their stories as well. One of the greatest parts of living in the age of technology is sharing information and building  a community around the entire world. As you learn about our homestead please inform us of yours as well.

Today our farm consists of 3 sheep, 1 lamb,  37 young chicks, and 27 egg laying hens. We also have a certified organic garden soon to be full of spinach, lettuces, beans, potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, herbs and  root vegetables among others. Also we are tending to an asparagus patch, established rhubarb, mulberry trees as well as wild raspberries and concord grape vines. All of this may sound like a lot of work, and it is, but the work is rewarding and because of it we can feed our family, friends and the community.

So my husband and I encourage you to follow our blog and share your storied in an effort to build a community of gardeners, farmers, homesteaders, families, artists and anybody else who is interested in living a natural self reliant lifestyle. We will continue to try to provide exciting how to projects, recipes and bits of our life with you while we raise our animals and 3 kids in a homesteading environment. 



P.S. Don't forget to like us share us and find us on Facebook and we will do the same for you!


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